When you are having a home constructed to your specifications, do you really need a new house inspection?
While it is easy to assume a home inspection for new construction is a waste of money, that isn’t necessarily the case. Real Estate agents get asked all the time if a home inspection for new construction is necessary.
Even new homes can have problems, and knowing about them can stop you from needing expensive repair work later. Let's look at some of the essential things to new when considering a new construction inspection.
What is a New Construction Home Inspection?
A home inspection is an independent review of the structure, features, and ensures systems within the home function as they should. The inspector will create a report that you can take to the builder so that they can correct any problems before closing.
The new construction home inspection should prevent you from dealing with lots of repairs after you have moved in.
New Construction Problems
While new construction should be perfect, there can often be issues. A home inspection can reveal problems, including cracks in foundations, imperfect finishing, and bad framing.
Other common mistakes that your builder might have made could include grading mistakes and other drainage problems. This could result in water not flowing away from the home, causing water damage.
The HVAC system installed in the home could be a source of problems, with loose wires or non-functioning thermostats. New windows might not be correctly fitted and could leak.
There can also be problems with the electrical system. Perhaps corners have been cut and things not correctly finished. This might mean potentially dangerous issues like open grounds, poorly wired outlets, and other problems.
There can also be problems related to the plumbing, which could lead to expensive bills later on for the homeowner. Perhaps incorrect pipes have been used, something which may not be initially obvious but will be a headache for the homeowner when they begin to leak.
Many things in new construction could have been left unfinished. While this may not be apparent to the home buyer, a professional inspector should pick up on these errors.
While it is unlikely there are deal-breakers, there is a high probability there are a few more minor things that need addressing. Having the inspection prior to the final walk-through can help generate a punch list.
What Home Inspections Do You Need?
One home inspection might not be enough to avoid problems with the new construction. There are three main recommended inspections for new constructions. When you are building from scratch, you can expect the local city officials to inspect during all of these phases. They are critical to ensure the structural integrity of the building.
You can also expect the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems to be inspected both in the rough and when the final work is completed.
This inspection occurs before the foundations have been poured. The advantage of this is to allow checks to show the grading and excavations are correct before the concrete covers them.
It also allows checks on drainage and vent lines and ensures there is the correct distance between anchors. This should make sure there aren't any problems with the foundations, providing a good base for the rest of the construction.
Before the drywall has been fitted, an inspection can show any issues with the beams, studs, and other parts of the structure.
Anything else that would otherwise be hidden by the walls can also be checked during this inspection. This means that the inspector can look at the wiring, plumbing, and other items, in ways that wouldn’t be possible later on.
The final inspection is the same as a standard inspection when buying any home. It is a final check so that issues can be fixed before closing.
What is a New Construction Home Inspection Checking For?
The home inspection professional will be looking for different things during the different types of inspection. But regardless of the different inspections, the city or county building code is an important consideration.
The foundation inspection will allow things to be checked that could otherwise go unnoticed. Issues with water lines and drainage aren't going to be very obvious later on when they have been covered up.
The framing inspection allows checks to be made on the standard of construction before these are hidden by interior and exterior walls. Has the framing been fixed together as it should? Has the builder guarded against water intrusion and reduced the risk of mold? These are just a questions that will be difficult to answer when the walls have been fixed in place.
The final inspection covers more elements of the construction, looking at every part of the property.
While you can choose to avoid these different inspections, the savings you make won't look so good if problems are found later on. These issues would normally be the responsibility of the builder, but only if they were caught earlier.
You Usually Can’t Make it a Contingency
In the purchase of a traditional home, you can usually have a home inspection contingency. The contingency will allow you to terminate the sale if you don’t like the findings. With new construction, it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to have this kind of contingency.
A builder is not going to custom-build a home for you and then let you walk from the deal at the last minute. Builders that allow customers to complete inspections do so for informational purposes only.
Quite often many buyers will waive their home inspection thinking it is not useful.
Whether you are buying a new house or a resale, a home inspection is an integral part of the process. Even if no significant issues are found, it is a great way to learn about the property you have purchased. Home inspectors are great at taking you through all the systems and explaining how they work.