There's obviously a massive amount of work involved in contracting a home. The major item to get approved is the final inspection. Once that's done, a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued. That document is needed to close on your loan and officially move in.
Your project will include some details we didn't have, so you're on your own there, but here are more of the leftover jobs and paperwork to consider as you near the finish line.
Final Inspections & Overlooked Codes
Let's talk about the final inspection first. Is it going to be a "white glove test" and a hundred nit-picky corrections? Will it throw off the closing date and cause you to lose your mortgage rate lock?
Probably not -- if you've established a good relationship with your local officials and treated them as resources, not adversaries. The final inspection may cost you a few days to make corrections so allow yourself that extra time.
If there are problems, they'll most likely be minor things like smoke detectors. People don't install enough of them, put them in the wrong places, wire them wrong, or just forget to put them up.
Many people don't always realize they need fire-rated service doors between an attached garage door and the house.
Some homeowners forget to provide access to their attics or crawlspaces. Codes also say that outlets for countertop use have to be protected by a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter).
Codes require stair railings to be a certain height and have a minimum spacing between the spindles. There's a lot of these health and safety issues to deal with, so it's a good idea to have an inspector drop in before the final inspection to make sure you're on the right track.
Once the work passes, some building officials will sign your Certificate of Occupancy right on the spot. Even if they find a problem, they may give you a temporary certificate to get you through closing.
In other areas, there is a day or more waiting period. Look into these items ahead of time to avoid delays in your schedule.
Final Bank Work
Once the project is done, the bank will ask for more paperwork. The first is documenting all your expenses in a final sworn construction statement.
The second is making sure you have lien waivers from all the subs and suppliers to verify that they've been paid for every item listed on your statement.
Once you've got those together, the bank's appraiser then goes through the house and double-checks that it's actually been built to the specifications on your sworn construction statement. The appraiser will also call your subs to verify the lien waivers and make absolutely sure everyone has been paid.
Things to Remember
A job site is always a hectic place, but be sure to save the receipts, instructions and warranties that come with the materials, fixtures and appliances -- especially for the oven, microwave, and dishwasher. So make sure your subs save those for you.
There's no doubt some major problems will come up during the project. For the self-contractor, those problems can cause more tension and frustration than normal because it's your home.
That's when it's time to step back and take a break -- maybe only for a few hours. But take some time away and even schedule a day or two for that. A little time off will help you be more productive, get along better with everyone, and have more fun.