Should You Get A Home Inspection On New Construction?
Buying a new home is a huge investment, and for most people, it’s the largest purchase they’ll ever make. When you put an offer on a new house, it’s wise advice to get a home inspection to protect yourself from unexpected problems and costs. But when you’re buying a new construction property, is it necessary to get a home inspection?
For peace of mind and to avoid unpleasant surprises and extra costs, don’t skip the home inspection on new construction. The required municipal inspections that occur during the construction process only verify that things meet minimum code requirements. Since the inspectors don’t work for you, they won’t be looking out for every little detail.
It’s always possible for problems to lurk behind walls, builders to cut corners, and others to overlook various issues. Therefore, even if your home is a brand new build, get a home inspection to cover all your bases.
Five Clear-Cut Reasons You Want A Home Inspection On New Construction
Municipal inspectors visit the build site routinely during the construction process to verify things are up to code. Typically, these visits occur at specific points and the house must pass inspection before builders can move on to the next step.
For example, before workers can begin building the home, an inspector must come out to check the foundation. Once they check off this box, the next inspector may come out to assess the framing before things can move any further.
Eventually, you’ll also see inspectors come out to review critical systems like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC components. All of these inspections may definitely put your mind at ease. You might assume that the house is in tip-top shape and impeccable working order since the home keeps passing with flying colors.
However, despite all of these green lights, red flags could still linger within the walls of your new house. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get your own inspection before you sign off on the final turnover of your house. Here are the five main reasons to get a home inspection on new construction.
1. Municipal Inspectors Look For The Minimum
If you hire a home inspector, a professional, qualified inspector will go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. Not only will they point out any major problems, but they’ll also bring smaller issues to your attention.
Your inspector will alert you to things you may want to fix in the future but aren’t necessary right now. (In other words, things that wouldn’t bother a municipal inspector since it doesn’t need to meet a certain code requirement.) Even if something is up to code, if it isn’t the best option, you’ll hear about it from the person you hire.
The municipal inspectors that visit the build site throughout construction are usually only looking for specific things. They check that the item meets minimum code requirements, and that’s it. If various factors check this box, they’ll sign off on them and let building continue.
Once construction reaches a certain point, you likely won’t see an inspector again. But an inspector that you hire will point out smaller details and finishing touches that municipal inspectors likely weren’t concerned about.
2. You Might Have A Contractor That Does Just Enough
Since contractors are used to working with municipal inspectors and aware of the current building codes, some might use this to do the bare minimum. Of course, if you find a reputable, highly recommended contractor that takes pride in their work, good for you.
But, unfortunately, some contractors don’t worry about doing the best work. Instead, they focus on doing passable work so that they can get the job done quickly and move on to the next one. They’re not breaking any rules or making significant errors, but they’re doing just enough to pass the inspections.
Additionally, if you end up with such a contractor, you might not be too thrilled with your finishing work. Trim could be cut at a weird angle, debris and dust could be left behind in air ducts (eventually harming your HVAC system), and so on. Municipal inspectors don’t normally look at these types of things. But if you hire an inspector, they will most likely point all of these things out to you.
3. It Still Saves You From Future Hassles
The biggest reason people get a home inspection, whether on an existing home or a new build, is to make sure things are right. It’s a way to ensure your future home is safe, up to code, and a good buy. An inspection reassures you that the home doesn’t harbor hidden surprises waiting to morph into outlandish costs and undue stress.
If you can catch a problem before it happens, or while it’s still a tiny one, this saves you a lot of time, headache, and money. Nobody wants to move into their new home, full of excitement, only to end up dealing with problems that shouldn’t be there.
Sure, repairs and unexpected issues are a part of being a homeowner. But there’s a big difference between your water heater going kaput and finding out your roof wasn’t installed properly.
If you discover these things after the home purchase is complete, you’re pretty much on the hook for them. Unless you can prove the builder or previous homeowner knew about them, which would be a challenging task to pull off. But uncovering issues during an inspection puts you in the driver’s seat.
You also get extra bargaining power when it comes time to sign on the final dotted line. A little extra wiggle room in negotiations is always a good thing when it’s in your favor.
4. You Get Priceless Peace of Mind
Buying a new house is stressful enough. A home inspection gives you invaluable peace of mind, so you can rest easy in your new home. When move-in day arrives, you can concentrate on where to put the couch instead of dealing with maintenance issues.
5. New Construction Home Inspections Present A Golden Opportunity
If you get an inspection on a pre-existing home, the inspector, no matter how good they are, can only see so much. The walls are already up, things are in place, and inspectors work around obstacles as best they can.
But when you’re dealing with new construction, you have a unique opportunity when it comes to your home inspection. Your inspector gets to see what’s in the walls, literally. But this only works if you’re willing to get two inspections.
A home inspection typically costs about $300 to $600, depending on your location and the size of the home. But it’s worth springing for a second inspection to take advantage of this golden opportunity.
Get your first inspection toward the final stage of the construction process, before they close the walls. This is a perfect opportunity for inspectors to get an up-close look at things that are normally hidden. They get to look at all the details of important systems like plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and similar components.
Then, have the second inspection once construction is complete. Doing it this way almost guarantees your inspector will uncover important bits of information. For example, they can tell whether builders took any shortcuts or made small mistakes that went unnoticed in municipal inspections.
New Construction Homes Still Hold Secrets, So Get A Home Inspection
It might not be necessary to get specialized inspections on a new build, like termite inspections, mold inspections, etc. However, consider a thorough home inspection a must. New construction homes aren’t exempt from problems, mistakes, and hidden issues.
If you take the time to get a home inspection, you’ll get valuable peace of mind from knowing your contractor didn’t cut corners. Or if they did, you’ll know about it before you sign off on the home and get stuck with any surprises and unexpected costs.
If things do turn up after a home inspection, you’ll have an opportunity to address them with the builder. Overall, after coming so far in the construction process, don’t take any shortcuts. Spend a few extra hundred and the time to ensure you know exactly what kind of house you’re getting.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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