Homebuying FAQs: Do I Need an Inspection on a New Home? by Jennifer Prestwich REALTOR®

Now that the Real Estate market is showing more and more signs of life, new home builders are once again ramping up their activity.  Some buyers will prefer to buy a brand-new home so that they can pick their finishes, and customize it to their liking before they ever move in.  Plus, some buyers like the idea that they are buying a brand-new house without any issues or things that need repair.  A brand new house that has never been lived in won’t have any of the potential issues of a house that has already had years of use, right?

Not necessarily.

While new home builders are building to county specifications and their work is being inspected along the way to obtain permits, mistakes can happen.  It is as important for a home buyer to protect themselves and know exactly what they are buying before they close on a new home as it is on a “used” home.  The builder will have a representative do a final walk-through and “punch list” before closing, but remember that this representative is likely not a licensed home inspector.

There are several things that I have seen happen with newly built homes.  Luckily for my buyers, I always recommend an independent, licensed home inspector.  Other people that I have met haven’t been so lucky.  Here are some of the things an inspector will look for in any home that a builder’s representative may not catch on their walk-through with you:

  •  The Dishwasher.  My friends Jack and Elizabeth bought a brand new house and were ecstatic with all of their new appliances.  On the first night they were there, the loaded up the dishwasher and started it running while they settled in for the evening.  Soon, Elizabeth heard the sound of water running and got up to investigate.  Turns out the dishwasher hadn’t been connected to a drain and so the water was draining right out onto their custom-selected hardwood floor!  Had they had an independent inspection, they could have saved the headache of cleaning up the mess on their first night in their new home…
  • The Roof.  When new communities are going up, they may be building 10 homes at once – or more.  Sometimes, when the county inspector comes out to check multiple homes, he will check one home per block, assuming that every home has been built to the same specs, and theoretically, they are.  Except.  Except when there is a miscommunication about who has finished what, on which house…  One of my favorite inspectors was out inspecting a newly built home just last week.  It seems that one of these miscommunications happened on the home he was inspecting, because this “finished” home only had half of its roof done!  Contractors are human, and occasionally something will get missed.  Good thing the buyers found out about this before one of our winter storms hit and left a couple of feet of snow on the unfinished portion…
  • The Sewer Line.  A sewer scope is something that I would recommend to any home buyer.  This is separate from a general home inspection, and is very common in older neighborhoods where some of the sewer lines are still clay pipes.  Tree roots can grow into them, or the winter freeze/thaw cycle can cause ground heaving that can crack the pipes.  Most people would assume that this won’t happen in a new home, because clay pipes are no longer used.  However, as mentioned above, contractors are human, and even in new homes, things can happen.  There is a lot of machinery that is used when landscaping gets installed, and a backhoe used to plant a tree can do a lot of damage to a sewer line.

These are just 3 of the things that can come up on inspection.  But this should give you an idea of how valuable a home inspection will be no matter what type of house you are buying.

Questions about what to look for on your home inspection report, or any part of the home buying process?  Call me today! 720-341-5235

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