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Do i need an inspection on a new construction home?

  1. I just signed the purchase agreement to a newly built home. I put in the contract that i want a home inspection. This was the response from the seller to my agent:

    Home inspection on new construction?
    Go ahead, please let buyers know we have gone through 19 inspections from the municipality and we have the C of O. The Builder will not accept a report of any kind from whoever they bring in. The detail crew begins tomorrow morning. Normally no one is allowed in when they begin detailing the house. All their supplies will be in the home, they will also arrive about 8:30am. Please do not discuss any concern with the crew.

    My parents and my agent say that they personally wouldnt pay for an inspection on a new build. I think $320 is cheap compared to spending $xxx,xxx and getting a lemon. What do you guys think? Am i throwing away $320 by doing an inspection on a new build? Anyone in the home-building/inspection industry that can offer some insight?

  2. Yes,,
  3. Generally speaking you are not wasting your time if you have an inspector that knows what he is doing. I have roofed and sided new construction homes, that were listed for $299,000+ that were so far out of square they would have had to tear the foundation out to fix them.

    But at that point, what's the point? Most builders won't incur that cost, and you'll have long legal battles to get them to fix it.
  4. Yes, but also see if you can get a builder's warranty in writing.
  5. Better than that hire a plumber roofer electrician to inspect
  6. Absolutely
  7. It would give me the choice to walk. Would an inspector be able to tell that from a 2 hour walk around?
  8. One year builders warranty (in writing) is included
  9. This is definitely the best idea......wonder how much that would cost?
  10. I would get an inspection for sure my friend:supergrin:
  11. I've owned ten homes, about half of them new construction. Never did I get an inspection on the new ones. There were always plenty of other homes built by the same company to check out for quality of construction. But in any case, if you're already signed a purchase agreement, it's likely too late.
  12. Most aren't generally qualified. Unless they have a history of building houses they will miss it. You can only learn so much from a 4 hour Saturday class. Easiest way is to use the 3,4,5 rule. Measure three feet on one wall and mark it. Measure four feet on another wall and mark it. Measure across the marks and that should be right at 5 feet. If it's not then you have a problem.


    When we sold our last house, the buyers' inspector told us we had moisture around the toilet. I told him no kidding, it's a bowl of water. I had to pull the toilet and prove there wasn't a wet floor under it. Wasting an hour.
  13. Municipal inspections only verify the build meets code. Not the quality of the build.

    "The Builder will not accept a report of any kind from whoever they bring in."

    Of course not, they don't want any deficiencies exposed. Why wouldn't they say "We welcome any inspection", if they weren't concerned about problems being discussed.


    Sellers are worried you are using inspection to back ot of the deal.

    Builders are worried an inspection is going to cost them money on some trivial matter.

    $320 seems like a small amount to watch out for you interests.
  14. Good, I have seen them implied then disregarded, getting in in writing is critical, as well as a one year follow up walk through.
  15. This was my feeling as well. Sure, they had to have all the inspections done at various points throughout the construction but, that doesn't mean the county/city inspector knows his butt from a hole in the ground.

    Plus, I have seen several crooks build homes and charge for items like energy saving, gas-filled windows and then install plain windows on 3/4 of the house. I've done clearing and grading work in developments where $600K houses were framed up in a week by a Mexican framing crew and not one single rafter was even close to level or the same length. And after seeing a few Holmes on Homes episodes, just up to code isn't that great sometimes.
  16. No, you don't. In my state you wouldn't need one, as a builder must have separate inspections on the foundation, framing, electrical, etc. done and approved throughout the process of building it. Then, a final inspection must be approved and signed off before completion

    Any additional inspection is not necessary if the inspectors have done their job.

    Added- the inspectors check the work and make sure the code is up to snuff. In my experience there are thorough inspectors and not so thorough ones. But generally they do their job around here.

    If you want a second opinion and plan to hire someone independently to look at the house for your peace of mind it may be worthwhile. Having another govt employed inspector would be a waste for sure.

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  17. I would have it inspected without question. Thats a huge investment and the inspection is minimal cost. Maybe you can find an inspector that is experienced or specializes in new construction.

  18. Inspectors are looking for certain items.

    You are correct, they aren't looking to see if the correct windows are installed.

    Will a $50 an hour home inspector notice either?
  19. I have a new hero in this arena: Mike Holmes (has a tv show). Friggin love that guy, sounds just like my uncle.
    He would demand a thorough inspection of the entire property, sewers to lightning rod, including boundry lines and rights-of-way etc.
    Do your reaserch, check alot of references, and pay the money now instead of being sorry later.
    Good luck!
  20. I was a building inspector for 20 years. If the county inspector did his job you shouldn't need another. I know sometimes it's not feasable, but the same inspector should follow your house from start to finish, we always tried our best to do that. There are things that are now covered up. A "home inspector" couldn't do a complete inspection, but he could see enough to put your mind at ease. There are ways to see at least 80% of the home. A camera snake is a great tool that any inspector should have. I would have the panel box looked at, and the plumbing, I have found many drain lines that have serious reverse slope, and studor vents improperly installed. Too many other things to mention. The county Inspector is there for codes only, cosmetic and finishes is left up the the builder and the homeowner. The punch list is your friend.
    Yes Mike Holmes knows the codes. He is very good at what he does.
  21. my in laws bought a new house several years ago. after they settled (they did not us an inspector) i went thru the house with them. went up in the attic and something just didn't seem right. then i figured it out - there was ZERO insulation up there! fortunately their builder stepped up and fixed the issue.

    so yes, for a couple of hundred bucks, get an inspector.

    frankly, it is a great idea to periodically walk thru the house as it's being constructed. that's when you can see any problems that might later get covered up with drywall and paint. sure some builders take great pride in their work and sure some do it as cheap as possible.
  22. Absolutely. I have a friend up in Atlanta who used to sell new homes in a neighborhood...he said the builder would find new ways every year or two to cut corners to squeeze out more profit. IMHO, an inspection is more valuable than a builder's warranty.
  23. keep your money.

    Find other homes in that area that your builder built. If he/they are being spec homes, try to find your "plan". Knock on the door and ask the homeowner if they would buy their house again. What problems they have had, how the builder handled their concerns, etc.

    The building inspectors will find the majority of the structural issues. Most realtors don't know their buy from a paper clip and as such, will have you spend your walk thru putting tape on walls.

    Be nice to the subs that come back to hit your list. Ask them about the builder, problems and such. You'll probably find one that will talk to you.

    That and Caulk is a maintenance item.
  24. Yes without a doubt. Been the sub on many projects and I wouldn't buy a house that I didn't have a good inspector (good being an actual inspector not the guy who took the 4 hour course on a Saturday)
  25. Yes. You might be surprised to find out where they cut corners.

    To be blunt, even if they didn't cut corners and did everything correct while you watched them build...to not bother paying the $200 or possibly $500 on a house you're paying 5 or 6 figures for is a tad stupid. To me at least.

    Just make sure to get an inspector that knows which way is up and actually does his job. My dad was selling a house, he met the buyers inspector at the house and the guy didn't even bother to get out of his car and said it looked good.
  26. I have been a lender for almost 20 years, bought and sold many homes as well. I always hire an inspector, your laws may vary but here it is just common sense.

    Hire a good one.

    Alos: what kind of loan are you doing? Some of the federal loan programs require warranty/certification of certain items in a much longer term than standard builder warranty.
  27. Yes! Its a minimal cost that could save many headaches later on. Wish I had gotten two inspectors on this home...one missed thing could lead to $$$$
  28. Code and a quality build are two entirely different things.
  29. Is there a good way to determine build quality without going full custom? The house we are about to buy was built by a fairly new company (2010). The upgrades are nice.....granite, custom cabinets, quality tile/carpet, insulated basement, saw-cut basement floors, etc.... But how can i tell if the build quality is good?
  30. I've been an electrician for over 25 years and I've seen things inspectors have passed that scared the hell out of me.
    Call the city/county inspector(s) and ask them "You inspected this property, do you guaranty it's safe?" once they stop laughing they will hang up on you. Try it again with "You inspected this property, do you guaranty it's quality work?"
    I've seen work so bad the inspector must have just thrown up his hands and pointed out the most obvious things and told the electrician "At least fix that!"
    You also have times when the inspector is sick or on vacation and another type of inspector covers for them (plumbing inspector inspecting framing) and who knows what that guy knows.
    All the city/county inspection tells you is that what he looked at fit his understanding of the code.
    I like the idea of talking to other homeowners.
    The #1 job of inspectors is to justify the permit fees.

    I just want to add that I have dealt with inspectors that are great and really know their stuff, it is just that some are terrible.
  31. As other have stated find other houses that builder has done. Talk to the sub contractors if they will talk to you many times they will tell you if they would buy one or not.

  32. Those were all upgrades in the 90's. There not upgrades anymore.

  33. our last home (new construction built in 2005) we added a sun room onto the back of the house. When we pulled the siding off the home to "tie in" the sun room there was a 2 foot x 3 foot section of plywood that was missing from the exterior wall...

    the hole was covers by tyvek and then sided over. That area of kitchen always had a draft.

    My neighbor across the street had all sorts of issues with their home. The builder put a couple bandaids fixes over problems that just delayed issues. When their year was up on the warranty the builder said he was done and the warranty was over. my neighbor sued and lost because he "fixed the problems"

    fast forward a few months and a big sign showed up on their property
    "Looking to buy a new home here? Ring my doorbell and let us show you the quality of construction"

    The builder was still building homes (still building in the development now too) and eventually fixed their issues to get them to agree to remove the sign
  34. ive owned a few homes , still do and rent some out . now .... if i was buying a brand new built house and the builder disagreed with me bringing in my own independent inspector i would tell them to $^%&^&*&** . and go elsewhere / YMMV
  35. I used to be a construction manager (superintendent) for a large builder in Houston. Just because the house built by the same builder down the street had a certain sub last week doesn't mean that same crew is going to work on your house. Or maybe he was sober last week and drunk this week. I would want the very house I'm buying to have a 3rd party inspector. City/county inspectors just try to make sure the thing won't collapse on you or burst into flames in the next few months. That has nothing to do with construction quality, or catching stupid errors. Some people pay that much to have used cars inspected, so yeah, protect yourself.
  36. Absolutely, and make sure you check references and get the best inspector money can buy. I had friends in teh DC area that bought a brand new TH without an inspection. I walked in 6 months later and immediately noticed the kitchen cabinets wewre not hung properly or square. Specifically they were off by 4 inches at one corner! Also looked in their under the stairs storage area and it was obvious the studes in the interior walls were off center and anywhere between 12" to 24" between each stud.
  37. You need to get warranties.

    Anything that goes belly up soon after the sale would probably be covered, but if you would feel better getting an inspector, go for it.

    The double talk from your builder/seller about not wanting someone in the home due to material being on site is hogwash. Makes me suspicious right off the bat.

    I had a remodeling business and welcomed both the homeowners, and prospective clients to come look over our shoulders from start to finish during the entire process.

    The city inspectors had a certain benchmark set of requirements to sign off on the construction progressing towards a C-O. Some city inspectors were good, and some were not so good. Since Hurricane Andrew change the building code here in Florida, gone are the days of the "drive by" inspections.
  38. If you are getting pushback from the builder on a home inspection then that is a huge red flag. I hope you don't go thru with the deal if he doesn't let you get at least one home inspection. I have been known to get two.
  39. Having bought a new construction house in 2006 I would say do it. An engineer can tell if all the items required were put in correctly. Such as hold down straps.

    Another thing, last year I got a call from the town and they informed me that one of my permits was not closed. I had the CO but they were vague on that. I got the original builder to take responsibilty for the sub that didn't close the permit by inspection from a town inspector.

    I'd get the permits to see if they are all closed. Town inspectors have been known to slack off and do 'drive-by' inspections at the local bar.:whistling:
  40. You can't, other than superficially. The only way to really tell is to periodically check as the house is being built. Is the foundation square? Is the framing straight and plumb? Are the proper number of fasteners being used? Was house wrap installed? On and on. Some of the nicest looking new homes around here are just plain crap.