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

By
Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, 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.

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Anne Clark 07/19/2010 04:56 PM
Topic:
Real Estate General Information
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow Braemar
Groups:
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The Vent
Real Estate Bloopers
Diary of a Realtor
Cosmic Cow Pie...The Rome Way
Tags:
home inspections on new construction
hiring a home inspector
issues with new construction

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Rainmaker
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Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

This is very good advice. In Ontario purchasers rarely hire anyone because we have a home warranty program.

May 16, 2010 02:22 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Cameron Wilson
Labrum Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee California

Great advice Chris Ann. Many people assume if a home is brand new it must have been built correctly. Not so and many sub contractors are on site who at times will cut corners.

May 16, 2010 03:10 PM #2
Rainmaker
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I believe that California home builders give an implied warranty for 10 years. Two of the common problems I see in my neck of the woods are undersized air conditioning units (which is so basic, how could they screw that up?) to structural cracks over doorways along the king stud. That's just lousy mudding.

May 16, 2010 08:49 PM #3
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Brian:  My home came with a warranty too, but the roof issue was one I would have never realized.

Cameron:  During the time that my home was built, at the end of the boom, they estimate that the County inspectors were only on site for their visits for fifteen minutes.  Guarantee you that ten of it was making small talk with the supers.

Elizabeth:  I have a 20 year structural warranty, but does not cover leaks.  The roof it would've covered, but had I not hired the inspector, I would only have known of the issue when part of my roof collapsed.

May 16, 2010 11:10 PM #4
Rainmaker
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Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

And most times builders get indignent when a buyer wants to do an inspection. No matter what the property, inspections are necessary.

May 17, 2010 07:26 AM #5
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Jackie:  Couldn't agree more.

May 17, 2010 10:34 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Carra Riley
Realty ONE Group Premier Colorado - Denver, CO

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 #7
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern 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 #8
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

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 #9
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern 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 #10
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Chris Ann Cleland

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