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Building A New Home? Protect Your Investment: Important Information Before Closing

With tighter inventory in the current market, more buyers are opting for new construction. Building a home brings the opportunity for clients to create their dream. They spend hours thinking about the design, contemplating every finish/detail and visiting the new home site on numerous occasions. After countless hours of waiting for the home to be finished, it’s finally time to close and move in. However, how will the buyers know if the home is habitable or regrettable? AJF Engineering & Inspections has completed thousands of inspections and can share the following information and myths about new home construction inspections:

Types of inspections should be completed on new homes:

  • A pre-drywall inspection is completed once the foundation; framing; and rough mechanical, electrical and plumbing are completed. The “guts” of the home are visible for inspection prior to installing the insulation and drywall. This inspection is arguably one of the most important inspections you can have when building a new home.
  • A final inspection once the home is completed and all utilities are turned on. The final inspection is like a home inspection that is completed on a used home and includes the structure, roofing, attic, electrical, plumbing, water heater, A/C, heating, etc.

Why do I need a home inspection if it is under a comprehensive builder warranty?

Builders typically offer 1, 2, or sometimes 10-year warranties on new homes. The builder will only correct deficiencies that you identify. While it is easy to identify cosmetic defects during a builder walkthrough using blue masking tape, it is difficult to identify deficiencies that aren’t so obvious.

For example, are the electrical outlets correctly wired or is there sufficient insulation in the attic? These issues would be identified by the home inspection but not necessarily the homeowner.

Doesn’t the Certificate of Occupancy (CO) guarantee that the home is properly constructed, and all systems are in working order?

While the city code inspections are a necessary and vital part of the new home construction process, they spend very little time at each inspection; don’t carry ladders; are prohibited from going on the roof or entering the attic due to insurance requirements; don’t carry electrical circuit testers; and depending on their background may not be knowledgeable in all the home’s systems and components. The city’s emphasis is on code compliance, while the home inspector’s emphasis is on whether the systems are correctly installed and functional.

A decision not to have a home inspection on your new home can cost you money down the road:

When you decide to resell your home, the new buyer will typically have a professional home inspection completed as part of the escrow process. Imagine your surprise when the home inspector identifies a list of defects and issues that you now must repair at your expense. This scenario could have been avoided by having a new home inspection and having the builder repair the items at no charge to you while the home was under warranty.

Do you still need a home inspection for a very expensive custom home build?

Absolutely, in our experience, the larger custom homes can have more issues than the smaller production homes. Production homes are typically constructed from a small number of plans, using the same subcontractors for the entire development. The production builder and their subs can work out any ‘bugs’ as they complete each type of home and floor plan.

Custom homes are one of a kind, and although they may use higher quality materials, they can have many more water heaters, air conditioner systems, heating systems, electrical circuits, etc. which means more potential problems. In addition, a custom home builder may use a new subcontractor because their bid is very low, or they are not happy with their previous sub-contractor, only to discover that the subcontractor’s work is sub-standard after the home is constructed.

Most builders go out of the way to deliver a quality product and construction errors are not the norm in the industry. However, a professional home inspection is a small price to pay to help reduce the risk in your home being the one exception.

AJF Inspections & Engineering has completed over 70,000 home, termite, and commercial inspections in the Valley since 1996.
Call the AJF Team Today! 480-661-8888