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Do You Need A New Home Inspection?

When you’re buying a new home, should you get your own new home inspection?

Should you trust an inspector working solely for a builder?

Experts say you really should get a home inspection on a new construction home. Pretty much every consideration falls into the “pro” column here, with the exception of the cost of paying someone to do it. (And then there’s the possibility the inspector might find an issue — but that’s intel that any informed buyer would actually consider a pro, right?)

Here’s our expert-backed guide to dig deeper into the reasons behind that decision-making advice.

A woman sitting at a computer working on new construction home plans.

Why should you get your new home inspected?

One reason a buyer might be moved to buy a new construction home is the expectation that it will be free from issues found in aging houses — like outdated plumbing or electrical, and even cosmetic flaws. But even though a home is brand new, it can still have issues; in fact, sometimes issues in a home are indeed the direct result of its status as brand new construction.

In some cases, contractors work fast — too fast. Sometimes they’re building to the bare minimum of code. And frequently, they’re subcontracting out projects to a wide array of vendors, whose competence and diligence might range significantly. On top of all that, sometimes mistakes just plain happen.

So the main takeaway is this: buyers should definitely not assume that their new home will be flawless just because it is new construction.

Let’s consider some of the common problems that new construction homes might face, and areas that an inspector should plan to specifically scour as part of the comprehensive process.

What could go wrong?

Common outdoor issues include:

  • Incorrectly applied siding
  • Gaps and cracks in decks and patios
  • Driveway and sidewalk cracks
  • Grading and drainage issues.

Indoors, you might find:

  • Cracks in drywall
  • Nail pops
  • Truss rise
  • Humidity inside the home
  • Water issues
  • Flooring issues
  • Doors sticking shut
  • Appliances (often the last to go in) might not be installed correctly, and should also be inspected

Even if the cost of an inspection feels like a stretch, and even if you’re eager to wrap up the whole homebuying process asap, you won’t want to cheat yourself out of an inspection. You want to know about any issues, minute or otherwise, before you pay for the home; you shouldn’t count on the warranty to protect or save you financially. Even if you have a warranty, you’d likely rather avoid a situation in which repair people are tromping through the house constantly after you’ve moved in; that’s a hassle as well as a privacy and security concern. And of course, if the property has health or safety issues, you’ll definitely want to know about those before you and your family are exposed.

A man in an orange vest showing new construction plans to a woman dressed professionally for a home inspection.

When can you get your new construction home inspected?

You can arrange to get it inspected at any point, and it would be wise to arrange three inspections: 0ne before the slab is poured, one before the drywall is up (which gives the inspector a chance to take a close look at all of the electrical/plumbing and framing) and once as a final inspection

Of course, if your builder is balking at any request to bring in an independent inspector, that sends up a big red flag. Why would they want to mask their work, instead of allowing a close look at the quality of the project?

And as the buyer of a new construction home, you want to make sure that responsibility falls on the builder to rectify, and not on you. If the inspector finds something, he says, “those builders are not done building yet. All of those repairs are going to fall on the shoulders of the builder, and there’s not a whole lot of negotiating. It’s not like you’re debating over whether this item is something that the sellers are willing to fix: it’s brand new construction and they have to stand by their products.”

And if you skip a new construction home inspection, you miss out on the chance to force the builders to make it right before it becomes your problem alone.

You Need Your Own Inspector

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