Getting the House You Want
The "punch-list" is the last stage of every construction project. The punch-list describes all of the things that need to be completed or adjusted before the owner feels that the job is complete. As irritating as the punch-list is for builders, it is a useful tool for reaching agreement about the path to declaring a project done and securing final payment.
These days it helps to keep the punch list on your phone or computer. Digital punch-lists are easy to email and may include digital photos. Be prepared to be fair and even generous with your punch-list. At the end of a project most builders feel that they have already done more than they agreed and that additional work is coming out of their pocket, and at the cost of spending time with their family.
To minimize hard feelings, it helps if you do “walk-throughs” on a scheduled basis and review new punch-list items with the contractor in person. If you are handy, you may find that some small things are fun to fix yourself. But remember, once the contractor and his tools are gone, unfinished items have a tendency to stay unfinished.