What to do in a New Development Punch List Walkthrough in NYC?

The trick of getting your dream home in a flawless condition!

What is a punch list?

For buyers of a new development condo or co-op, a punch list is a list of desired repairs and touch-ups submitted to the sponsor, otherwise known as the developer, to be fixed prior to closing. There are usually TWO walk-throughs of the property in this process. The first walk-through is to develop the punch list and the second walk-through is to ensure everything on the punch list is completed to the buyer’s satisfaction. In the event of discrepancies or delays, the remaining items on the list are conveyed for the attorneys to resolve. 

Sponsor obligation

Legally, provided that the property meets the building code of the offering plan, sponsors are not obligated to fix items on the punch list. However, most sponsors, particularly larger sponsors, who have more brand equity to protect, want to ensure their buyers are content with the finished product. Therefore, most contracts will contain language regarding punch lists. 

What to do during a punch list walk-through?

Before entering your newly constructed apartment, check the common areas to make sure everything is in order. Then, enter your new home by ringing your doorbell and turning the door handle to make sure they work properly and can lock after entry. Look at the door closely to confirm the paint job around the frame is neither chipped nor stained and that the door closes flushed to the frame with no gaps. Record any issues on your punch list and, ideally, take pictures for reference. (I personally prefer the mobile app, Punchlist, which allows you to assign photos for each item on the punch list).

Bring this attention to detail to the rest of the property by turning on and off every light switch and appliance (dishwasher, washer dryer, garbage disposal, oven, etc.) to make sure everything is in proper working order. Open and close every window, door, cabinetry, drawers, etc. to ensure they open smoothly (no stickiness) and close tightly. Check for cracks on any glass, wood, stone, or mirrored surfaces and any chipped paint, nicks, or holes on walls. Look for both scratches on wood floors and stains on carpets. In the bathrooms, flush every toilet, run both hot and cold water to test water pressure, and look under the sinks for signs of leaking and/or mold. Turn both the heat and the cooling system on to verify the HVAC operates properly and monitor how long it takes to come on. Plug a charger in each outlet to make sure they are live. Lastly, confirm that all instruction manuals and warranties are on premise as well as the right copies of keys. 

What NOT to include in a punch list

Typically, the walk-throughs are accompanied by either the sponsor representative and/or the general contractor and you will need them to agree to each punch list item and sign off. Therefore, your punch list request should be reasonable. This is not the time to request new shower fixtures because you dislike the original design (unless it was previously negotiated in the contract). However, your request to remove scratches on the hardwood floor from the wears and tears of foot traffic will most likely be agreed upon. Bear in mind that you may not be able to add new items on the list during the second walk-through so make sure you include everything the first time. 


  1. Wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty in
  2. Bring a phone charger to check the outlets 
  3. Don’t let the sponsor representative rush you
  4. Look, touch, and turn on everything
  5. Submit the signed punch list to your attorney immediately for record keeping

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Su doesn't see clients as mere transactions but as real human beings with real human needs. She is passionate about educating and empowering clients to make smart decisions, and as a devoted and human-centric advocate.

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