There’s an ironic duality to assumptions. They are free, but they can really cost you.
A lot of people who are buying a new home (meaning new construction, not just new to them) assume that they don’t need a home inspection. Especially if they are buying a home that has had phase inspections by a city’s building inspection department throughout the construction of the home. Or, they make the mistake of not paying attention to the really important things and instead only see the finishes: granite, wood floors and barn doors. This can be a very expensive mistake.
For example, we were recently called to do an inspection on a new construction home in a neighboring town. This town had a building inspector. The builder had his green tags for all the inspections required by the municipality. The home was decent, but was far from issue-free.
Among the issues we uncovered was the fact that there was almost no slope to the drain on the master bathroom shower floor. The water was building up by the shower entrance. If not addressed, the owner would have to manually push the water to the drain in the center of the shower after every use, or the water would pool and sit and eventually start to smell, mildew or both. Not exactly something earth shaking but definitely a pain in the neck for the owners. Who would expect that of a house with a higher price tag? You’re supposed to get what you pay for, right?
In another new construction home, we were hired by a builder to come in and inspect the home before the buyer moved in. Sort of a punch list of potential problems. He was glad he called us! There was no hot water at the master bathroom shower. I’m pretty sure the buyer would want that! Rob tested the two exterior outlets at the back porch and the electrical boxes pulled right out of the wall! Rob found that they had never been attached to anything. The brick masons just bricked right around them.
In another new home in one exclusive neighborhood with full acre lots and homes in the $400,000 range (FYI, that’s kind of a lot for our area) we found an emergency drain pan in the attic that was completely full and minutes away from overflowing. With the closing date just days away, that’s a bad time to have to replace ceilings and possibly cabinets and flooring due to water damage. Even worse if it had happened after the buyers had moved in all their belongings!
While it’s true that most new construction homes come with at least a one year warranty, it’s more advantageous for the buyer if these items are discovered before you sign on the dotted line. Why? Because the builder will have much more incentive to get the items in question corrected. He or she wants that payday at the closing date. So it’s to your benefit to be able to use that payday to ensure timely action on the part of your builder.
I’m not, by any means, advocating any unfair or unreasonable practices on the part of the buyer, but being able to use the delay of closing or termination of the contract to get someone off dead center is sometimes the only tool a buyer has to get the agreed upon repairs done before the deal is done. And let’s face it, if a builder won’t get things in gear to ensure his own financial enrichment, how likely is he or she to show up for warranty work after the check is cashed? And ALL homes have warranty work, my friends!
The purpose of this post isn’t to try to scare you away from newly built homes. Just keep in mind that a home inspection is intended to help protect you, the buyer. The Inspector doesn’t care if the granite goes with the back splash. He or she is trained to focus on more important factors. The Inspector may not find much, if anything, but not having a home inspection could end up being a very expensive gamble. One of those free assumptions that can really cost you.
As always, I would love to field any questions you may have in regards to home inspections! Just comment below or email your question or comment to email@example.com . And please remember to Pin, Like, and share on any social media of your choice. Thanks and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!