Most people would agree that getting a home inspection when buying an existing house is a smart idea. That way, you get to find out if it’s safe to live in, and if there are any potentially expensive repair issues lurking below the surface.
A home inspection helps to protect you from buying a house without knowing what you’re getting into. If the inspection does find problems, you then have the right to pull out of the sale, go back to the seller and ask for a price reduction, or ask them to fix it before you buy.
But here’s the million-dollar question most people ask - why should I pay for a home inspection on a house that’s just been built? It’s new and pristine, and you may even have had it custom-built to suit your specifications, right? Well, here’s the answer to that question, and the reasons behind it...
Do you need a home inspection for new construction?
Yes. It’s not a requirement in most cases, but home inspections are set up to protect your best interest. It’s different from a code inspection, which only ensures that your building complies with the building code laws - it isn’t concerned with the quality of your new-build house.
If you don’t get a house inspection on a new construction home, you risk committing to one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make without knowing if there are any problems (and believe us, there are almost always problems). You wouldn’t buy a car without having it checked for issues, so why buy a house that’s much more expensive without making sure it’s A-OK first?
Lots of people decide to go for a new construction home because they expect it to be free from the issues that are often found in older houses. Unfortunately, even if your house is brand new, it can still have potentially expensive problems. Sometimes, these problems are actually a direct result of being a new-build home.
Why? Well, sometimes builders work to the absolute bare minimum of code. Contractors often rush to get the job done, and those they subcontract to may not be as diligent as you would like. The new construction home dream can quickly turn into a nightmare for many homebuyers. Mistakes can, and do, happen. If you are buying a new construction home then it’s best not to assume it will be perfect just because it’s new.
When should you get a new construction inspection?
While you can get a new construction home inspected at any time, we recommend some key stages when you should get a new construction inspection.
These are typically referred to as a new construction phase inspection. There are a few key stages in the home building process that are important to check. Each stage is important for ensuring your home is built properly.
Pre-pour foundation inspection
This is a great time to ensure that the foundations of your new home are set up properly and are built to last. In fact, it’s the only chance you’ll get to check this. The pre-pour foundation inspection is carried out when the foundation make-up is complete, and the builder is ready to go to the next stage - pouring concrete.
While inspections may differ, the main systems that are examined in a pre-pour foundation inspection include:
- Checking all foundation forms and bracing capabilities
- Looking at the reinforcing steel sizing and how they are placed
- Checking the post-tensioned cable system to ensure it adheres to manufacturer installation guidelines
- Inspecting the plastic vapor barrier for defects and placement
- Looking at the trenchwork and pads for potential drainage problems
- Checking the interior pads to make sure there are no compaction issues
- Inspecting the exposed plumbing
In layman's terms: pre-pour inspections ensure your home is built on solid foundations.
Before drywall is put up
Another excellent time to do an inspection is before the drywall is put in place. This is because drywall covers up some parts of the interior and makes it difficult to find or fix problems once the house is finished. The goal is to make sure everything “behind the scenes” looks good.
A pre-drywall inspection may include:
- Electrical wiring and junction box placement
- Foundation slabs, walls, and drains
- Firestop material
- Pier pads
- Window and door flashing
- Wall studs
- Placement of HVAC air ducts and registers
Before moving in
Your new home is finally ready, and you are so excited to be moving! This is the time when you need a new construction inspection that’s often called a final walkthrough. This is where the inspector will go room to room with you looking for any issues that the builder should fix before you move in.
While they vary, here are some things that should be looked at during the final walkthrough:
- A check of the exterior of the house, including the roof, windows, doors, and trim
- An interior inspection that includes plumbing fixtures, flooring, moldings, appliances, A/C and/or heating systems, and an inspection of the attic for dampness or leaks
This type of inspection is most similar to a standard home inspection on an existing property. It allows you to double-check for issues before you get settled.
11 months after closing
In most cases, newly constructed homes come with home warranties. In fact, they are legally required if the buyer is using an FHA or VA loan. These warranties have a variety of coverages that typically last 1 year.
It’s a good idea to get a professional inspection about a month before your warranty expires. This way, you can make the warranty cover any issues discovered. While we call it 11 months, be sure to check the details of your own warranty to see how long it lasts.
Here are some typical issues you might find and get fixed:
- Missing insulation
- Leaky plumbing
- Improper roof vent installation
- Loose toilets
- Cracked or damaged shingles
- Appliance damage
- Cracks in the stucco
- Missing grout
- Damaged soffits
New construction homes are very popular. In fact, based on studies, 41% of Americans would prefer to buy a new home over an existing one (for the same price). While they can be great, it’s important to remember that they will also have issues.
It is always a smart move to get a home inspection on any property you purchase, whether it’s new construction or not. Inspections provide you will peace of mind - and protect your bank account at the same time.
When it comes to getting home inspections, you want to make sure you pick the right inspector. We have a nationwide network of thousands of highly qualified inspectors. Are you in need of an inspection? You can schedule one today in just a few minutes.
We hope you found our article useful, and we wish you all the best in finding your dream home!