1. Make sure you find out the deadline of turning in your punch list, and turn it in before the deadline and copy your HOA. (You want your HOA to know that there are issues that need to be resolved so the developer feels obligated to address those issues and fix them before the developer convinces the HOA to accept the community.)
2. Look at your plat (small plan of your lot), and verify that all trees are planted AND are still alive. Everyone is trying to save a buck or two, so don’t get surprised to learn that your Virginia Pine is dead as a doorknob. Also, if there are a lot of dead trees in your neighborhood, the developer is REQUIRED to replace them (if the HOA has not accepted the community).
3. Find the contact information for the county and Department of Transportation inspectors as well as the bond department. Land Developers get bonded by the state and county to make improvements to the land per approved plans. Having this information is helpful because sometimes Land Developers will treat you like a dog unless you’re barking up the right tree.
4. If your street has not been accepted by the Department of Transportation, make sure your HOA has contracted a snow removal company. If not, you may find yourself shoveling your street!
5. Before you spend money on outside improvements (i.e. concrete driveway or monumental mail-box), make sure those improvements are approved by the county AND Department of Transportation. If the roads have not been accepted, and your improvement is not approved by the GOV, the developer could remove your costly improvement; and they wouldn’t be obligated to reimbursement you, but many developers will if they desperately need to get off of bond.
6. If you have water puddles in your yard, you may have a grading issue. Request that the developer fix the issue in writing and send a copy to your HOA, the county and the Department of Transportation.
7. If your HOA has a pond, request that the HOA have the builder install an irrigation system so that still water will not attract pesky mosquitoes and a film of green algae.
8. Call the county to find out when the developer’s bond expires, so you can use this as leverage to get your punch list resolved expediently.
9. If your community remains on bond for a year after construction, there’s a reason, so use this to your advantage to possibly negotiate freebees. If enough people complain to the government, a developer may not be able to renew their bond, and they would rather pay a couple thousand dollars in improvements than to lose millions in a defaulted surety.
10. Enjoy your new home!