How To Use the Punch List In Closing

You may see or hear the term “punch list” in the process of buying a new home.  Here’s what it means.

When a project is nearly done — “substantially complete” — a pre-final inspection is customary.  The list of final things to be done (or checked) is called the “punch list” in the US, and the “snag list” in some countries.

These tasks include things like security-system activation and elevator permitting, as well as minor/final repairs such as fixing wall cracks, trim or windows.

Organization by type-of-subcontractor is common; all carpentry items together, all electrical, all plumbing, and so on.

Critically, completion of the punch list can be required before final payment.  Calling sub-contractors back afterwards, on the homeowner’s nickel, is obviously less desirable.

In short, assuming the contract allows it, do not close escrow until the punch list is complete, or until you are satisfied with how items have been addressed.

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