Some would-be homeowners still wonder if they need them for new construction homes. What could go wrong if a home is constructed by a reputable home builder?
The answer to the question “Do I need a new home inspection?” is, without a doubt, yes.
There are many opportunities for new home builders to provide subpar quality. The testing and safety requirements on a new home aren’t as rigorous as, for example, in the auto industry.
A home inspection is the best way to ensure you buy a home that is in sound condition. A certified home inspector can give you a detailed overview of the property.
Cons of new construction homes
The benefits of buying a new home are plentiful. It can be custom designed for your unique needs or use new technology that is more energy-efficient. New homes follow updated building codes and have features that older homes lack.
Not every builder has the most experience and skills for constructing new homes. That’s why you should check a home builder’s reputation before starting the process. Hiring a real estate agent who specializes in new construction can give you more confidence in negotiating with builders.
On the flip side, older homes come with more history and personality that makes them exciting and fun to own. Older homes have had at least a few home inspections, so they can be more predictable.
Why do you need to get a new home inspection?
One of the biggest myths about buying a new home is that it will be free from typical problems in older homes.
For the most part, what a home inspector will be looking for on a new build differs slightly from what they would be keeping an eye out for in an older home. Older homes are more susceptible to issues created due to age and wear and tear that happens over time, whereas new builds are more prone to having problems related to a lack of diligence during the construction phase.
Improperly installed electrical systems and appliances like water filters, heating and cooling elements, interior or exterior trim and gaps in window frames and doors that can impact the efficiency of your home are examples of what would be potential red flags in a new home inspection.
A home inspector conducts a check after the construction is completed. There are many inspection steps that happen during construction by city inspectors and specialty inspectors. A city sends inspectors because it’s often a requirement before issuing a certificate of occupancy. Yet, they are often not as thorough as an inspection conducted by a professional home inspector.
It can be tough to spot defects in your home without a background in home construction.
Never assume a property has no issues because of its new construction. Hire a home inspector, even if a home inspection is a stretch for your budget.
The most common problems in new construction homes
New construction homes can have many issues from poor grading and sidewalk cracks to malfunctioning appliances and improper wiring.
Common outdoor issues
- Gaps and cracks in decks and patios
- Driveway and sidewalk cracks
- Grading and drainage issues
Common indoor problems
- Cracks in drywall
- Plumbing issues
- Improper wiring
- Doors and windows are not closing
Why you should hire an inspector for new construction?
Home inspections for new construction are not mandatory. Whether buying a preowned home or a new construction home, you don’t have to hire a home inspector by law. But hiring a home inspector can save you lots of headaches and high costs in the long run.
A home inspector checks the most critical components of your home to identify issues.
If you want to be 100 percent sure that the property you want to buy doesn’t have any problems, ask your home inspector to conduct more tests.
Some home inspectors offer ancillary tests like radon, asbestos, mold, and indoor air quality. These tests have additional costs, but they help to ensure that the property is free from serious and potentially health-threatening issues.
What do home inspectors look for in new construction homes?
Home inspectors look for anything in a home that could be faulty or failing. As the potential homeowner, you would be responsible for these repairs after the sale. Homes have electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and structural systems. It’s within these systems that a home inspector will focus their assessment.
Once a new home inspection is complete, they’ll put together a home inspection report. If a home inspection report outlines any issues, you can use it to negotiate the price. If you are working with a developer and builder, ask them to cover the cost of fixing anything outlined in a report.
What areas are covered by a home inspection?
- HVAC system
- Drainage and plumbing problems
- Structural issues and the foundation
- Attics and insulation
- Roof and chimney
- Floors, doors, and windows
Get a complete list of things that home inspectors check here.
Inspecting older homes vs. new construction homes
The elements that a home inspector checks while inspecting a new home are different from an old home. Older homes are more susceptible to issues caused by wear and tear and their age. New construction homes are more prone to problems related to construction defects.
These problems could include cracks in sidewalks and driveways, flooring issues, incorrectly applied siding, humidity inside the house, and inadequate ventilation.
A buyer should always talk to neighbors, check zoning regulations and research the area. Getting a home inspection before signing a contract is a good example of due diligence in real estate.
Due diligence is investigating the physical and financial aspects of the home and the area where it’s located. The due diligence period is usually between 10 and 15 days. The purpose of due diligence is to make sure that the buyer gets what they pay for.
When should I hire an inspector for new construction?
First, you want an inspection before installing the drywall. A home inspector can check the framing, electrical, ductwork, and plumbing elements. The second home inspection should take place after the completion of the home. Schedule the second home inspection before the final closing.
The best time to have a home inspection is when the work is finished and before the builder issues the occupancy permit.
As a buyer, your goal is to ensure that the financial responsibility for any issues falls on the builder of a new home and not on you.
When you skip a home inspection of a newly built home, you miss out on a chance to get the builder to cover the cost of any potential problems. Once you sign the papers and get the keys, you become the sole person responsible for fixing them.
Frequently asked questions about home inspection for new construction
Is a new construction home inspection included in the contract?
A new home contract includes a final walk-through. A home inspection is something you’ll have to put into the contract as a buyer. Go over your documents and ask to add a home inspection contingency in your sale agreement. This clause will protect you in case a home inspector finds issues with the property.
A home inspection contingency allows the buyer to have an inspector look at the property within a set period of time. This clause also allows them to negotiate on price, repairs, or cancel the contract based on the findings. Note that you may not have these same options for new construction. For example, you are unlikely to be able to cancel your contract on a custom-built home based on the inspection. Check with your real estate agent to make sure you understand your options.
What’s the difference between a final walk-through and a home inspection?
A final walk-through is an opportunity for home buyers to check the property before closing. This step allows buyers to make sure that the home’s major components and systems work and that there’s no damage.
A final walk-through is not as detailed as the home inspection, as it provides only a basic overview of the home’s components. A home inspection is a good way to protect yourself against potential costly repairs because it’s a more thorough examination of the property.
Do municipal home inspectors check new construction homes?
Municipal inspections cover most phases of a new construction project. Some buyers feel that it’s good enough. Yet, it’s often not the case.
Municipal home inspections cover all phases of construction. They include foundation and framing and electrical and plumbing systems. Their goal is to ensure that the new construction is up to building codes and meets basic standards.
That doesn’t mean that you can forego the independent home inspection. To make sure that no mistakes crop up, always hire an independent home inspector.
A home inspector looks for defects in major parts of the home like roofs, attics, foundations, doors, and windows as well as systems like HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. They provide a more detailed overview of the condition of the property than municipal inspectors.
A municipal inspector checks necessary permits and the house is compliant with the local building codes.
What is a builder’s warranty for new construction?
Most new construction homes have a warranty that covers major systems for one year. Some parts of your home could have coverage for less than a year. This includes foundation problems, electrical work, plumbing, and permanent parts of the home.
Final thoughts on new construction home inspections
Getting a home inspection for new construction is always a good idea before closing. It adds an extra expense, but it gives you peace of mind and allows you to negotiate with a seller if it uncovers any significant issues.
Never assume a home is in perfect condition because it was constructed recently. A home inspector can save you thousands of dollars in repairs.