The Importance of a Home Inspection in the Purchase of New, or To-Be-Built, Construction

By
Real Estate Broker with Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

As a Northern Virginia Realtor®, I always recommend that my New Construction, or To-Be-Built Construction, Buyers have a home inspection.  Just because something is being built from the ground up, or is brand new, doesn't mean it is without flaws.  Sometimes serious and costly flaws.  I like to use my own experience as an example. 

When my husband and I went under contract to purchase our To-Be-Built home in Bristow's community of Braemar, our agent never mentioned a home inspection.  Two months after settling on the home, I had my real estate license and began the process of attending classes for my mandatory post-licensing education.  One of the courses I attended was by a local home inspector who regulary inspected homes under construction for his buyer clients.  The things he found scared me.  And, as with any profession, this inspector began to find the same flaws over and over in homes built by particular builder.  Builder A may have predictible roof truss problems.  Builder B may have predictible eletrical panel issues.  You get the idea.

Just before our one year punchlist was due to our builder, I hired this home inspector to come to my home and inspect it.  What he found amazed me.  Five or six of our roof trusses were cut about 90% with improper field repairs.  He told my husband and I that if we had a heavy snow, our roof could collapse.  He took photos and we sent them to our builder.  The builder came out and properly repaired our trusses, to engineering specifications.  That was 2005.  This past winter (2009-2010), with our three blizzards, I am thankful we had that done.

Here's the second issue.  My husband and I had been driving ourselves crazy trying to track down the cause of a leaky basement window.  We'd had the problem since just after the one year inspection, and the builder came out and did a "repair" on something we knew wouldn't solve the problem.  We battled and battled the issue, and battled the builder.  We were told that the warranty on repairs had expired and it was our tough luck. 

We hired a contractor to come out and remove the siding around the area that was leaking a month ago.  They ended up removing ALL of our siding.  Why?  The builder had not properly flashed our windows.  Something very basic had been done improperly.  We are out $1,000 for the correction and furious at the shoddy job we paid an arm and a leg for.  We still love our home, and would still chose to have it built, but if we had it to do over, we would have paid for the periodic inspections of a trusted home inspector.

Especially on To-Be-Built homes, it is so easy for a home inspector to notice when these problems are occuring.   The inspector visits the construction site on a regular basis and is there to make sure that the home is built so you don't have leaks, roof collapses or any other type of problem.  And they can be fixed while the home is under construction.  Why wouldn't a Northern Virginia New Construction Buyer want a home inspection?  Sure it costs more to have periodic inspections on a home under construction, but compared with the large amount of money a Northern Virginia New Construction Buyer is paying for a home, the cost is a drop in the bucket and worth every penny.

 

Posted by

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker- Licensed in Virginia, GRI, SFR, Northern Virginia Short Sale Specialist. Affiliated with Long & Foster, 7526 Limestone Drive, Gainesville, VA 20155.  To contact Chris Ann, call 703-402-0037 or email chrisann@LNF.com.  Or you can visit her website:  www.nvarealestate.net.

Header photos taken by Chris Ann Cleland.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of Chris Ann Cleland, not those of Long & Foster REALTORS®.

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  1. Anne Clark 07/19/2010 04:56 PM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Jackie:  Couldn't agree more.

May 17, 2010 10:34 AM
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Carra Riley
CRB, CRS, GRI
Author, Speaker, Consultant, Carra Riley Inc.

Chris Ann.....Inspections serve the purpose of giving the property, new build or resale, a physical or report card of condition.  I agree new doesn't always mean right.  Inspecting what you expext is a good idea.  Great suggestions!

cosmic cow

May 17, 2010 11:25 AM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Carra:  Obviously, speaking from experience with my buyer clients gives it additional weight.  It's best to had something done right the first time that have to go through a warranty after you notice a problem caused by the defect.

May 17, 2010 11:30 AM
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Patricia Kennedy
For Your Home in the Capital
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.

Chris Ann, I so agree with you.  I don't sell that much new construction, but when I do, I try to schedule at least two inspections - one before the dry-wall goes up and one at the end.  I am constantly amazed at the faith some poeople have in builders and county building inspectors.

May 18, 2010 02:14 PM
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Chris Ann Cleland
Associate Broker, Northern VA
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA

Pat:  County inspectors are always overworked.  Even during the boom there weren't enough of them to meet the demand. 

May 18, 2010 02:52 PM
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