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January 10, 2023

Tips for your new home predrywall walk (plus one “watch out!” tip)

Home built by Focus clients in Central Park

Here at Focus Real Estate our team has attended more than 50 predrywall walks the past few years. From neighborhoods like Central Park in Denver, Solstice in Littleton, and The Canyons in Castle Pines, our brokers have done predrywall walks all over the Denver metro.

But before we go any further … what’s a “predrywall walk”?

Builders have various names for predrywall walks (predrywall inspection, meeting, etc.). But regardless the meeting before your walls are insulated and your drywall goes up is an important step in the construction process.

Here’s how it often works:

You’ll spend 1-3 hours touring your home with your construction manager. You’ll check out wires, plumbing, internal systems, and any selections you’ve picked. It’s that simple!

Picture we took on a predrywall walk

Why is a predrywall meeting important? First, it’s your last chance to see what’s behind your walls. Once the drywall goes up, you won’t have visibility into your walls perhaps for many years or even decades.

Also, your ability to make changes (if your builder allows changes – many don’t) is significantly hampered. Your builder might need to go into your walls, and then re-do your insulation and drywall, if you do have changes. And all that might be a “no go” from your builder.

So what are my tips for your predrywall inspection?

(1) “Watch out!”

An under construction Parkwood home

I want to start with my “watch out!” tip first. It’s no secret that supply chain issues, labor shortages, and permit delays have impacted new home construction. It’s now 2023, and builders are still recovering from the past few years and making do the best they can.

What does this all mean? Well, our clients are seeing substitutions and changes to their homes during the construction process – sometimes because items have been discontinued, items are back-ordered, or for other reasons.

Your builder might’ve changed materials or product lines at some point, and though builders often tell their buyers about these changes, the reality is sometimes different items are installed in your home – and you might not know about it.

A home built by a Focus client

So when you do your predrywall walk, one area of focus should be your home’s specific selections and materials – and making sure what you selected is what’s been installed.

Double check everything you can!

(2) Pictures … and a 3D Model

Predrywall walk in a Wonderland home

Take as many pictures and as much video as you can during your meeting. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re hanging pictures or contemplating a renovation if you know what’s behind your walls.

If you can, I recommend doing a 3D model of your home as well. This allows you to spend more time focusing on the walk itself, and less time on pictures/video.

Here at Focus we provide a 3D free of charge to our clients who build new homes! As one example, here’s a 3D model of one of our client’s Lennar home.

Parkwood – Charleston 3D Tour

(3) Peace of mind … for a few hundred dollars

Although not required, I recommend you hire a professional inspector to inspect your home at the predrywall stage. Your inspector will give you a report documenting any issues he or she discovers – which means you don’t have to play professional inspector during your predrywall inspection.

Picture we snapped during a predrywall walk

Also, if your inspector does uncover an issue, sometimes the issue was already on the builder’s radar, in the process of being fixed, or would fall under your new home warranty. Regardless, I still think it’s helpful to hire a second set of professional eyes for peace of mind.

(4) The more electrical outlets and can lights, the better

We live in a world of devices. Given this, why not add as many outlets as possible? Many builders won’t let you add more outlets, but if your builder does, pay attention to the location of each outlet during your predrywall inspection and think about how you might end up using each particular room when your house is done. It might make sense to add more outlets – and the predrywall stage could be your last opportunity to bring this up with your builder.

New construction in Denver’s Central Park

Similarly, each extra can light (the recessed lights in your ceilings) might only cost a few hundred dollars, but saves you from having to buy extra lamps and lights after the fact if you think a particular room is too dark. Not all builders will allow you to add more lights, but it’s worth asking.

(5) The more questions you ask, the better!

When you buy a resale home, you often have little to no idea what’s actually behind the walls of your home. Sure, you had a home inspector go through the home before closing, but home inspectors are limited by what they can see, and inspectors don’t usually poke holes in walls to see what’s lurking behind.

A new Parkwood in Aurora’s Painted Prairie

Compare this to a new home. Regardless of which builder you selected, there’s a lot to learn about what’s inside your new home. Your predrywall walk is a wonderful opportunity to get to know your home.

Having attended many predrywall meetings myself, I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s amazing what you learn about ductwork, air registers, plumbing cleanouts, window flashing, electrical panels, and more during predrywall walks.

If you have any questions about predrywall walks, I’d be happy to help!

Our team specializes in helping clients build new homes all around the Denver metro. From picking a builder to “all-in” budgeting to attending design center meetings with you and much more, we’d love to help.

E-mail me any time at Mariel@Focus-Realtors.com.

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