We often get the question “why should I pay for a home inspection on a newly constructed home? Doesn’t it come with a one year warranty?” A valid question for sure.
In my experience, you should ALWAYS pay for a home inspection, regardless of whether the home is newly constructed or a run-down rat trap being sold “as-is”. A good home inspector has trained, experienced eyes to look for minor flaws even where you may see perfection. I have often walked into a beautifully constructed, very expensive brand new home home and thought “wow, this is awesome!” Yet the inspector can walk into the same home and find a dozen or more flaws that need to be corrected prior to transfer of ownership.
So why should you get a home inspection on a brand new home?
There are a number of reasons why a good home inspection is important when purchasing even a brand new home with a warranty.
Finding flaws in the home BEFORE you take ownership puts you in a much better negotiating position with the builder. While nearly all builders are eager to take care of their customers quickly, there is something to be said about the motivation of fixing a problem before closing rather than after closing. Builders are much more motivated to get things fixed to your satisfaction BEFORE they close on a deal. That is just human nature and nothing against the builders, just the way it is in life.
You Can Walk Away if You Find Major Problems
While we very seldom find major flaws during a home inspection, it has been known to happen. Foundation unloved? Drainage problems? These are things a good inspector are trained to find, and these major issues can and have caused buyers to walk. It is MUCH better to find out about such problems prior to taking ownership rather than after taking possession of the home. Inspectors are not supermen – they can’t see under the slab or through walls or go back or forward in time to predict problems – but most are very experienced in looking at homes and can often see telltale signs of potential problems before they happen.
Even Brand New Homes can have Problems
Building a home is a complex orchestration of dozens of contractors and their employees who are specialists at their job, but who may know how other parts of the home work together. With all this work happening at once, it is very difficult for a builder to carefully check all phases of construction. Even the best builder can miss something. We have seen this happen time and again and seldom does a new home inspection not result in at least a few minor problems that need correcting.
Although New Home Warranty is for a Year, sometimes Problems Don’t Manifest for several years
Nearly all builders provide at least a one year warranty on their newly constructed homes and are happy to fix problems uncovered during that time. Yet some construction defects may not be uncovered or cause problems for several years. For example crack in a vent pipe seal in the roof my allow moisture to slowly seep into the attic of a new home. The leak may be very minor and all but undetectable, but over time can cause mold and rotting damage to the roof decking. A homeowner may not discover this problem for several years and the fix can be quite expensive by that time. Recently we had an inspector uncover a small gap in the insulation of a refrigerant line in the attic of a new home. This can cause condensation on the refrigerant line and result in a very small amount of water slowly dripping inside the attic. If the inspector had not noticed this gap in the insulation, the homeowner most likely wouldn’t have discovered the problem for years since it was basically hidden in the attic. The result could have been slow wood rot, mold development, and other problems caused by moisture.
A Home Inspection can Save you Lots of Money down the Road
A good home inspector can usually find both short term and long term defects that a laymen would never see. Finding these defects early can help you with negotiation before closing, and can save you thousands in repair costs later on. The small price you pay for a home inspection – typically under $500 – can bring you peace of mind, improve your negotiating position, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in expensive home repair bills later.