New Construction Home Inspection -The Truth About and Why They Are Vital

Should you have a professional home inspection done on a new construction home? Without a doubt yes. When you have a professional inspection completed before you close and occupy your newly built home, you have the opportunity to catch issues before you become responsible for the repairs as they are still covered under your builders warranty.  Stick with me as I go over the types of inspection options you have. I will talk about why it is good to have a 3rd party look over your newly built home. And I will provide examples of things I have seen overlooked during the course of construction.

Buying a New Construction Home

There is no doubt that buying a newly built home is an exciting time.  Brand new appliances, state of the art technology and modern décor! A clean slate for you to move into without re-doing or fixing up anything from a previous owner. Many people think that buying a new construction home means everything is in 100% working order. This is unlike thoughts about buying an older home previously lived in. So there is no need for a home inspection then, right?  We know the inspector won’t find a leaking roof, a worn un-serviced furnace, or rusting old pipes.  In addition, you get to see the home after the city/county inspectors have given the approval to occupy. (As the builder’s representative will do a walk through of the home, days before closing with you.) Isn’t this good enough? While it is true that you get to do a walk through with the builders rep., unless you are a trained professional, would you know what to look for in the electric panel? Do you have a thermo gun to read if insulation is in fact behind all of the walls as you assume? I know I personally, would not. 

Why Have an Inspection?

Buyers are surprised when I tell them new construction home inspections often catch defects.  Don’t get me wrong, a builder does not miss things on purpose. The reality though, hourly employees are building homes as fast as they can in large subdivisions. They build urgently, trying to keep up with the housing demand due to lack of home inventory. As is common, when completing things quickly, details are overlooked and missed and they get called out by the inspector(s). 

Anytime I have a buyer purchasing a home whether new, or previously lived in, I advise them to have a home inspection. Even if a seller states the home is being sold “as-is”, a buyer should have an inspection.  Why?  Buying a home is one of the biggest financial purchases you will make. When you become fully informed through an inspection, you’ll learn about the repair of the home and how its systems work. This is extremally important to truly understanding what you are purchasing  You also can learn what to keep an eye on,  know what repairs may be ahead in the future and what those timelines may look like to help you prepare financially in the future for that maintenance.  

The Three Most Common Types of Inspections:

Home Inspection

During a home inspection, the inspector will inspect all areas of the house to include the plumbing, heating, electrical, ventilation, the roof and gutters, the structural foundation and more.  

Sewer Inspection

During a sewer inspection, the inspector will run a scope underground the length of the line from the house to the street.  This provides information about a few items. Is there a clog in the sewer line ? The type of piping used in the construction of the sewer line. If there are any tiny gaps or cracks and if roots have entered.  As you can imagine if piping is old, worn or cracked, roots can grow inside the line and spread, separating the pipes even more. Roots can also trap debris flowing within the pipe, causing your sewer to backup.

Radon Inspection

The 3rd most common inspection, is to have the radon levels tested. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas found in soil, rock and groundwater. It is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer.  It can seep into houses through crawlspaces and even through tiny gaps and cracks in the foundation. Using state-of-the-art equipment that they leave in the home for 48 hours, inspectors can get a reading of the amount of radon, if there is any in a home, to make sure it is not building to unsafe levels. 

What to do After Getting the Inspection Reports(s)

After each inspection, the inspector(s) will go over the findings with you in person if you are able to be at the inspection. Both you and your REALTOR® will also receive an email with the inspection report(s) attached, typically within 24 hours of the completion of the inspection.  You then can review the report(s) to make sure there are no hidden surprises. If you find concerns, work with your realtor to negotiate repairs with your seller.

In the case of having a new construction home inspection, there is no seller per say to negotiate with.  In this case, you are working with a builder. Should the report show anything of concern, the buyer can provide a punch list to the builder or their representative prior to closing.  A punch list is an itemized checklist of outstanding items that need attention on the home.  Each builder will approach this differently. Sometimes items of concern can be completed prior to closing. Other times a builder will guarantee the work under the builder warranty and complete within the first year. Again, this is why it is important to have your home professionally inspected before you close and occupy your new home.  Issues found during an inspection may still be covered under your builders warranty and become addressed by the builder, before anything compounds into larger issues.

New Construction Home Inspection Truths

I hope always, to not have any findings pop up during a new construction home inspection, but more times than not, inspectors will point out a few items of concern.  I have had inspections with buyers where insulation was missing in an attic and sewer lines had gaps in the pipes. Another time a vent hose was laying in the attic not attached to the roof vent which could lead to the growth of mold over time. In my last inspection, a support post was floating above the piers in the crawl space which could lead to uneven and sloping floors in the future.  

This surprises many as most people think that the city or county inspectors are checking the home during the course of construction so everything should be good to go once completed.  

The truth though, there are many parts of a home build that city or county inspectors are not responsible to check or sign off on when they are determining if a home is built to code and approved to move into. This is where your professional inspectors come into play. Some of the items inspectors check are the flashing on roofs and looking for cracks in the foundation. They look to confirm wiring is properly sealed. Making sure proper drainage away from the foundation of the home is happening is especially important with all the rain we get here in the PNW.  Inspectors also look to see that there is no construction debris clogging the furnace ductwork, and no leaks in the plumbing or gas line. These are just a few of the items your professional home inspector will look over. 

As you can see…

It is truly important to have inspections completed, even on new construction homes. If you are looking at purchasing a new home and curious about homes in McMinnville or anywhere in Yamhill County, feel free to reach out to me directly, I’d love to help you on your next transaction. 

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