Buyers are often confused about when and why they should do a third party home inspection on their new construction homes. They often ask if there’s a point, if dozens of professionals have been working on their home and obtaining appropriate permits approved by city inspectors over the last several months. And the home is brand new! What could go wrong?? The truth is, those city inspectors? They test for code, not workmanship. And you have dozens of subcontractors working on various systems in your house. There are many reasons to have an inspector take a look at your new home.
The biggest reason you want your new construction home inspected is PEACE OF MIND. This is an expensive investment and knowing that everything has been looked over and explained a second, third, or fourth time can help ease worry. More specific reasons depend on WHEN you get your home inspected.
There are generally two times in the process that buyers should consider getting a third party inspection. The first is a few days before closing to identify any last-minute overlooked details or mistakes and the second is a couple of weeks before the builder warranty expires (usually the 11 month mark) to help create a punch list for the builder. Some homeowners do both, especially if they have had issues with the builder or the house. They want to make sure everything checks out before they are responsible for any problems that crop up. We recommend at the very least one or the other but this really depends on your comfort level.
The pro-side of doing the inspection prior to closing is that it gives you one last opportunity to “test drive” the home before it’s yours. A pre-closing inspection can make the builder more motivated to perform those repairs so that closing isn’t delayed. It’s a lot nicer to have repairs done before you and your family are living in the home! After closing, issues can get pushed out several weeks and this can cause headaches. The other big reason to do the inspection prior to closing is to identify any problems which could cause damage to personal belongings, hold up your move, or even be hazardous to you and your family. A disconnected drain line or a backed up sewer line would be good examples of issues we catch at this point. We recently did an inspection where the drain line under the master bathroom tub was not installed correctly. The builder hadn’t run enough water to discover the issue and we had a rainstorm in the dining room below during our inspection. Even though the builder was quick to take care of it, nobody wants this to happen the first time they take a relaxing bath in their new house. Yikes!
The other time to consider doing a home inspection is towards the end of your builder’s warranty, typically at the 1 year mark. The builder will make repairs to the home that were neglected prior to closing, discovered right after closing, or have arisen in the first year of ownership. This is the option that we do most often and we call it our Anniversary Inspection. There are a few really good reasons to perform the inspection at this time. First, at this point you will have gotten to know your home and have made a list of concerns and repairs. Second, you can run any quirks and questions by the home inspector to determine whether something should be a concern or whether it’s a non-issue which needs a little extra explanation. Finally, it’s one more opportunity for the home inspector to give you tips and advice about how to keep your home safe and operating smoothly.
We have seen everything under the sun in new construction home inspections over the last 10 years and we look at things most homeowner would never think to look at on their own. Have you walked around on your roof? Have you checked your attic to see if there is enough insulation or disconnected vents? Sometimes your home has issues that just aren’t obvious to the untrained eye, but can cause trouble later. In the first few weeks in our own new construction home, we were stumped that our clothes were taking so long to dry in our brand new dryer. Everything seemed to connect up correctly when I looked at the attic prior to closing. I was able to get up on the roof and figure out that our dryer vent had been shingled over! Not everybody can do their own investigating and many people might just let it go. In this case it could have caused a fire. After living in your home a while, you can run small seeming quirks by your home inspector and we can help troubleshoot why you’re having trouble.
Buying a new construction home is not just about picking out cabinets and tile! A home inspection can help you feel safe and confident in your new home purchase.
Charlie Glahe owns WIN Home Inspection and is a resident of Stapleton. His company offers home inspections, radon testing, and sewer scopes. Call 303-489-1867 to ask about our “Stapleton Special” on home inspections and radon tests in 80238!