Why should you have a new home inspection? I recently had a long discussion with a builder. He made the statement that he does not see the need for a third party inspection on a brand new home. He stated that builders use “their own inspectors” to make sure each stage of the building process is “right.” While I will admit that there are many great builders today that are building well built homes, there are some that either cut corners or use sub contractors that cut corners thereby giving the customer an inferior built structure.
About 25% of my inspections are done on new or newly built (less than a year) homes. I have not found a home yet that did not have some items that were improperly installed. Here is a short list of some items I have found.
- Wires in boxes with no strain relief
- Gas pipes run in contact with recessed can lights
- no bonding to gas supply lines
- improper fittings on water heater lines
- improper installation of attic stair cases
- improper service decking to equipment in attic
- missing structural supports for roof
- drain pan lines not connected
- improper ground clamps on service
- engineered beams cut out for duct work to pass through
- bathroom vents terminated in attic
- lack of tempered glass where required
- improper clearance for electrical panels
- bowing in walls
- windows not properly flashed
- improper roof flashings
- furnaces mounted in the attic on top of bricks
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Here are several reasons I believe third party inspections are valuable.
- It puts the builder on alert that there will be someone checking behind his work. He is more likely to take the extra time to check on his sub contractors to make the “list” as short as possible. As I stated above, there are many great builders who want to build a great home. It comes down to how well their subs do.
- It gives the buyer a peace of mind that there is an advocate on their side looking out for their best interest. A third party inspector is not paid by the builder. He has no incentive to let things go because he wants to keep his job or make himself look good. The only person the inspector is concerned about being happy is the buyer.
- If one safety issue is caught and prevented the money spent on a third party inspection is well worth it.
Here is a great plan for inspecting a new home:
- Inform the builder of your plans so he is aware that your inspector will be working for you.
- Negotiate with your inspector for a “phase” inspection plan. Inspect the slab before its poured, the house before it is drywalled, and a final inspection before you close.
- You may even include an “11 month inspection” just before your warranty expires. This will give you a detailed list of everything you want the builder to address before the one year warranty expires. Things like drawers and doors that need adjustment, cabinets that don’t work right, leaks in your roof, drainage issues that were not apparent at first, etc. Often an inspector will give you a great price when you make such a plan.
If you are buying or considering building a new home, take control of your investment. Hire an inspector that will work for you.