Is a Property Inspection Worth It? A Closer Look at the Benefits of Examining a New Construction Home
One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a newly built home is having access to brand-new structural and building materials at the start of their lifespan. It is advised to have a new construction property inspection because new doesn’t necessarily imply perfect.
A new construction home inspection not only gives the homeowner peace of mind, but it also makes them aware of any problems, allowing them to ask the builder to have them fixed, ideally before closing.
Why do I need a property inspection for a new construction?
A new home may experience a number of problems because of human error or overlooked details during construction, subpar components and workmanship, or water damage or other damage.
Homeowner risk is reduced by getting a new construction home inspected. While the cost of a property inspection can vary depending on the size of the home and from city to city, it is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a home investment.
A part of homeownership will involve taking care of repairs, maintenance, and replacement over time because structural and housing components have a lifespan. A new construction property inspection’s primary objective, aside from pointing out problems for the builder to address before closing, is to make sure that nothing in the house needs to be replaced or repaired early due to flaws or improper installation, which would result in higher costs for the homeowner once the builder warranty has expired.
Since the property inspector is a unbiased third party, the buyer’s interests are also well-represented.
When should I have a new construction property inspected?
While with an existing home, there would be one property inspection before closing, ideally, a homeowner of a new build would have multiple inspections at various stages of construction, including foundation (i.e., before the foundation being poured), a framing inspection (i.e., when framing, roof and windows are in, but before drywall) and a final inspection when the home is entirely built, but before closing.
At the first inspection, the property inspector looks at the footings and ensures that grading and excavation have been done correctly. When the framing is up, they will look at beam and post-installation and have an opportunity to look at wiring and plumbing before the walls are installed. As part of a final property inspection, the inspector does not go behind the walls or cut holes in them, so this is the only opportunity to get a comprehensive look.
The pre-closing inspection is the most commonly done if a homebuyer opts for a single inspection or if they have bought a model home or a new build on spec.
For extensive due diligence, homeowners may consider adding property inspection at the 11-month mark after closing, being mindful that most builder warranties are in place for a year.
Peter Young, a home inspector with Peter Young Home Inspections, notes that homeowners find the timing of the 11-month inspection helpful to “make sure that everything that needs to be repaired under the warranty before it expires.”
In his experience in the field with new construction homes, Young says that homeowners find the information gleaned from their property inspection valuable and, therefore, a worthwhile choice.
“Homeowners are happy that they got an insection done, especially because they would not have known about the problems otherwise. They are usually quite grateful to have information on the front end of their home purchase,” says Young.
What exactly does a property inspection cover?
Although there might be minor variations depending on the region of the nation, a property inspection usually includes both structural and mechanical aspects of a house, including:.
- Construction of basements and foundations.
- Both windows and doors.
- Both ceilings and floors.
- Roof and gutters. Chimneys are included in property inspection in some states but not in others.
- Attic with ventilation and apparent insulation.
- HVAC, which includes a thermostat.
- Plumbing, which includes a sump pump, a sink, and a toilet.
- Electrical, including panel boards and circuit breakers
- Exterior siding
- Walkway and a Driveway.
- Exterior structures such as the garage, deck, patio, etc. (usually are included as long as they are connected to the home)
- Appliances – especially making sure that the plumbing and electrical connections have been made properly.
Why is an inspection necessary if my house has passed building code inspections?
Homebuyers who are purchasing newly constructed homes might believe that it is acceptable to forgo a formal property inspection because their home would have needed to pass inspections for code compliance during various construction phases.
A complete home inspection is distinct from a code inspection, though. In contrast to a property inspection, which probes deeper, the county or building inspector will conduct a quick overview.
A county or city building inspector will likely inspect several homes in succession while quickly going through their checklist. The level of detail involved, however, necessitates that a formal property inspection last at least two to three hours.
The safety of plumbing, electrical, ventilation, heating, HVAC, air conditioning, natural gas systems, and other systems and structures is the main focus of building codes. Building codes change along with advancements in technology and building materials, but they always aim to prevent dangerous situations in a home brought on by a fire, flood, or other disaster caused by a breakdown of structural elements.
The housing inspector works for the homeowner, representing their best interests, as opposed to the code inspector, who represents the government (state or municipal).
A housing inspector examines the building’s components to find any structural or workmanship flaws that might lead to damage or deterioration of the home and that the homeowner should be aware of prior to purchase. It is a teaching tool to assist homebuyers in raising concerns with sellers (or, in the case of new construction, the builder) prior to the transaction being finalized.
While the home inspector’s job is to find errors, their efforts ultimately result in a better product and more satisfied customers, which is crucial to the builder. The home inspector is an important part of the homeowner’s due diligence.
Large developers frequently construct new homes, and they work quickly. Some builders rely on home inspectors to let them know when something is wrong, according to Young.
Common issues with newly built homes.
A new construction home inspection may uncover some problems that are frequently brought on by human error or builder negligence. Things can occasionally be overlooked by builders working under pressure, which emphasizes the value of a home inspection.
The good news is that many of the most prevalent problems are resolvable, and it will be in the buyer’s best interest to bring up these issues with the builder prior to closing.
Young explains that the majority of the problems he observes during inspections can be quickly fixed by the builder.
The smallest issues, such as outlets that aren’t working because they were simply overlooked during construction, reversed doors and windows that need to be adjusted so that they close properly, occasionally inadequate insulation, etc., are the most frequent. The details are typically important, says Young.
It’s common to find unfinished projects, such as fixtures that need to be properly connected or handrails on staircases that aren’t completely attached.
When there are gaps in the installation or the floor itself is scratched, problems with floors are frequently found by home inspectors.
Young contends that although mistakes are made during construction, mass production in a community acts as an informal quality control, which explains why flaws in newly built homes are typically of a minor nature.
According to Young, “larger developers frequently engage in production building, and their teams simply produce variations of the same house repeatedly.”.
Even though many problems found during a property inspection are minor, it is still strongly advised to have one done because, if not addressed, they may lead to future problems or inconvenience.
A property inspection of a newly constructed home will identify more serious problems, such as foundation cracks, which might have developed because insufficient time was given for the concrete to cure and dry. Cracks can occasionally develop as a result of improper framing.
Faulty plumbing installation leading to water damage is another significant problem that occurs.
A lot of new construction has drainage and grading problems. Future issues may arise from them because poor grading or drainage won’t divert water away from the house, which may result in serious leaks and foundation damage.
The incorrect installation of tiles on roofs can occasionally cause problems. This could result in early roof deterioration and potential water leaks, both of which could result in serious damage.
The difference between a property inspection and an appraisal.
A property appraisal and a property inspection can occasionally be misunderstood. Lenders frequently demand an appraisal of the house as a requirement for financing. An appraiser visits the property and makes a value assessment based on its dimensions, location, amenities, state of repair, and recent sales of homes in the neighborhood.
Although a home inspection is not typically required by a lender, a home buyer may decide to get one to reduce their risk. While an appraisal establishes value, a home inspection verifies that all projects, systems, and components are finished and functional.
Difference between a property inspection and the final walkthrough
With their builder, homebuyers will have the chance to conduct a final walkthrough, which differs from a property inspection. Just before closing, the homebuyer, builder, and realtor (if the homeowner is using one) have the opportunity to tour the house to make sure everything is finished and that all upgrades, finishes, features, etc. are present. , as agreed upon in the specification sheet, are completed. The walkthrough enables homebuyers to conduct a visual inspection and quickly spot any deviations from the specification sheet. This tour is brief in comparison to a thorough home inspection, which can last several hours.
What happens if the home inspector discovers a fault?
In an existing home sale, the buyer typically includes a provision in their offer stating that the sale is subject to the outcome of a property inspection. If problems are found during the inspection, the buyer has the option of returning to the negotiating table to try to either get the problems fixed or have the price dropped to reflect the cost of the fixes.
But if a house is being built from scratch, especially a custom or semi-custom one, that contingency might not apply.
As they are required to fix issues covered by the builder’s warranty, the builder will probably be approached with concerns by the homebuyer and will typically work to address them quickly. While a home is still being built and workers are still present on the development site, it is more practical and cost-effective for the builder to have issues fixed.
Verify the builder’s warranty’s coverage.
The home inspector should not be the one to advise the homebuyer on how to proceed with the transaction; instead, they should point out issues to inform the homeowner.
The terms and conditions of the builder warranty should always be verified by the homebuyer. However, if the homebuyer decides to forgo the property inspection to make sure they are sufficiently covered, this is even more crucial.