Inspections for New Homes?

Posted by Mitch Argon / CalNeva Realty on Tuesday, October 16th, 2007 at 11:39pm.

 I help a lot of people buy homes - and this includes new homes directly from builders.  I hear of many people who do not have a buyer's agent (representation for their interests) when they buy new homes.

One critical element in the "due diligence" process of buying any home is the independent home inspection.  This blog post discusses various view points and highlights the importance of the home inspection - yes, for new homes too!

Does a new home need an independent inspection?

The home builders generally do not think so. When providing you professional representation, we think it is critically important.

The Builder Position:

  • "We are quality certified..."
  • "The county inspector has already signed off on all aspects of your home's construction..."
  • "Our quality supervisor has already combed every inch of your new home..."
  • "You have a comprehensive warranty on your new home..."

    Our Position: (protecting your interests)

    • Quality Certification - A quality certification can have a wide range of standards (some are purchased, some are based on builders' internal standards of quality, etc. - what are your quality standards when plunking down $400K or more?)
    • The County Inspector - County inspectors inspect the home as it is being built at specific stages and only for a specific item such as plumbing or electrical - as completed at that stage of construction. The county inspector does not re-inspect over prior "sign-offs" and does not return for a comprehensive home inspection. It is not uncommon for workers to change or alter work that has been inspected by the county inspector 'last week'.  Who, then, re-inspects the work in this case?  One very common practice - after the foundation is inspected by the county and the sub flooring is installed is to have plumbers "cut out" sections of the beams under the house to make way for bathtub drains, etc.  These beams are engineered to support the home and a 'cut' alters the beams support capacity.....
    • The Builder's Quality Inspector - who pays his or her salary? Enough said.
    • Comprehensive Warranty - Yes, this is likely true (most builder warranties are for one to two year periods). What happens, however, if there is a fundamental problem with your new home and you don't find out about it until 3 or 4 years later when you are trying to sell your home? Answer: you will pay out of your pocket to remedy the problem.

    The cost for an independent (he's working for you - not the builder), state certified home inspection ranges from $300 to $400 for most new homes in the Reno-Tahoe area under 3,000 square feet.

    This cost is small in relation to the potential costs you may incur after your warranty has expired and you are now the home seller.

    Whether you have an agent or not, you really should have your new home inspected by an independent inspector who is working for you.

    Until next time - Mitch

  • Mitch Argon
    Broker - CalNeva Realty

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