The Punch List

If you are buying a co-op or condominium unit from a sponsor  in which the unit is being renovated, the details of the renovations, including the materials and fixtures being installed, should be outlined in the contract of sale. This agreement will provide that you have the right to do a pre-closing” walk through” in order to verify that the sponsor has completed the required work. Items that are not yet completed or things that you notice that are damaged should be noted. Make sure you list these items on a pad as you go though the unit. This list is commonly referred to as the punch list. If time permits, contact your attorney with the outstanding issues. Otherwise, bring the list with you to the closing for further review. Most contracts will provide that the unit will be deemed complete and ready for closing provided the unit is “substantially completed”. The adjustment of doors, repair of walls and floor scratches, etc. are considered minor in nature and are typical punch list items. A more serious issue might be the fact that the appliances or the wood floors have not been installed yet. These items would likely result in the adjournment of the closing until such time as the items are completed. Another possibility is that the sponsor place money in escrow to assure the completion of the more serious items. The goal is to try to complete your closing and not compromise your rights under the contract. Mortgage interest lock in expirations can also affect the decision to move forward and close. An experienced real estate attorney can usually strike an acceptable compromise to assure that all will move forward without compromising your rights.

The Law Offices of William J. Reinhardt, Jr. has been representing buyers and sellers for over 25 years in NY and NJ on real estate closings. For a free consultation call 718-377-8880 or e-mail

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