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How to Properly Check for Defects in Your New Home? Save this Checklist!


Finally! It’s the day that you have been waiting patiently for – the day you get the keys to your new home! As much as you are eager and excited to move in your furniture immediately, you should check for defects in your new home first!

Indeed, you should not overlook the defects-checking process right after getting your keys to your new home. This is an important process as you only have a limited Defect Liability Period (DLP) where the developer is responsible to fix any defects in your new home before the ‘warranty period’ runs out!

Under Malaysia’s Housing Development Act, the DLP is 24 months (individual title) or 36 months (strata title) starting from the date that you received your keys.

So, how exactly does one start to thoroughly check the whole house for defects? It’s not an easy task, but it has to be done! 

Spoiler alert: Useful checklist ahead, bookmark for future use. You’re welcome!

New Home Defects Checklist: Prepare The Essential Tools

Usually developers will provide you with a standard Defect Rectification Form, which may look like a table for you to list down the defects and which area that defect is found. However, the contractor might overlook and miss some of the defects out while rectifying the issues in your new home.

What Tools to Prepare for Defects Checking?

Before you start scrutinising every single inch of the property – like you should, you have to be fully equipped for the job! 

Prepare these few tools to have at hand when checking your new home for defects:

  • Paper
  • Marker pen (in a few colours)
  • Pen 
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Spirit level
  • Torchlight
  • Stool
  • Ladder
  • Camera (a decent camera phone works as well).

With these tools, we recommend that you mark the spots of the specific defect, and briefly label the defect with the masking tape, to make the contractor’s job easier. Yes, it does appear quite like treasure-hunting – ‘X marks the spot’!

New Home Defects: All The Areas To Inspect and How to Inspect Them

Now that you have all the tools for the trade, you should start your new home defects checking process by focusing thoroughly on these five areas:

  1. Walls and Ceilings

Grab your ladder or stools and start checking the walls and ceilings for defects such as cracks or uneven paint jobs. 

Keep your eyes peeled for the following defects:

  • Wavy and uneven surface
  • Paint stains or cement residue
  • Cracks, holes or chips in the wall or ceiling
  • Missing plaster or paint jobs
  • Any fungus or water marks
  • Lumps, bubbles or flaky paint
  • Any protruding objects (eg. nails, stray pipes, loose wiring, etc.)

Do these to inspect for any defects on the walls and ceilings in your new home:

√ Make sure that there are no stains , rough patches or chips on the wall
√ Walls near doors and windows should not have watermarks
√ Inspect the straightness of the ceiling and wall corners

  1. Tiles and Floor

You should also check for defects on the floor or any abnormalities in tile work.

  • Any missing, cracked, chipped and slanting tiles
  • Gaps in the wall skirting
  • Hollow tiles. You can lightly tap the tiles and observe if there is a hollow sound
  • Paint stains or cement residue

To check for any defects in the floor and tiles, lightly tap the tiles with a screwdriver and observe if there is a hollow sound. A hollow echo means the ground beneath that piece of tile might not be cemented properly.

  1. Doors and Windows

These are areas that you should not miss as well. Windows that are not installed properly may lead to water damage, which can cause serious problems to your home’s interior.

Check these areas for the following defects:

  • Poor workmanship, such as missing screws, damage, rust or dirt
  • Any gaps between doors / windows and their frame
  • Any dents, cracks or scratches on doors or window glass surface
  • Improper installation
  • Malfunctioning locks 

Gently open and close all doors and windows in your new home to ensure that they can be opened easily without obstruction or squeaky sound.

  1. Fittings and Fixtures

Developers will usually provide a list of specifications that include any electrical fittings, fixtures and accessories that come with your new home. 

Take your time to cross-check all these fixtures and fittings with the list that you are provided with, to ensure that every single piece is properly installed and functions well:

  • Electrical points
  • Taps
  • Sinks
  • Bathroom accessories
  • Toilet accessories
  • Security or alarm system 

If possible, you should engage a professional electrician to help you in checking the electrical points and connections to make sure that they are properly installed and work well. Make sure that all electrical points are properly secured:

√ Properly aligned fittings
√ No gaps or exposed electrical wires
√ All switches and sockets are functional

  1. Water pipes

When you get the keys to your new home, your developer will also provide you with a homeowner’s manual. In the manual, you will be able to check where the pipes are. Avoid these puncturing these areas during renovation.

When you check for defects in your new home, you should also scan the walls or ceiling for any water stains. These are signs of:

  • Exposed pipes
  • Incorrect pipe fixtures

When you have got water supply to your new home, do these few things to inspect for any defects in your water pipes:

√ Turn on all pipes to check whether they are all working properly, such as the water pressure

√ Pour a pail of water down the drainage hole, and check if the water discharges quickly or if there are any clogs in the basin drainage.

√ Pour a pail of water on the bathroom floors to check if there is a water ponding problem. A properly sloped floor should not have water ponding issues.

Make Use Of This Home Defect Checklist To Inspect Any Defects In Your New Home

Remember to thoroughly inspect your new home for any possible defects, as any defects reported after the DLP or once you have started renovation, may be beyond the responsibility of the developer. 

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This article is intended to convey general information only. It does not constitute advice for your specific needs. This article cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation.

Any interested party should study each situation carefully. You should seek and obtain independent professional advice for your specific needs and situation.

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