If you’re buying a new home, you should have it inspected. We’ve heard every possible argument against hiring a private home inspector, and none of them are valid. We find numerous issues at nearly every new-construction inspection that we do, and the best home builders appreciate having these issues discovered before they turn into expensive problems.
We teach a one-hour class to real estate agents on this topic, stressing the importance of new construction home inspections. We also teach a two-hour version of that class to home inspectors.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Check out some of the stuff we’ve found during new-construction home inspections. If these images and stories don’t convince you, nothing will.
- New Construction Defects, 2016
- New Construction Defects, 2015
- New Construction Defects, 2014
- New Construction Defects, 2013
- New Construction Defects, 2012
- New Construction Defects, 2010
- Minnesota home builder won’t allow attic inspections, my two cents on the matter
- New construction tip: have your builder plan for water management
- “You’re wasting your money on a home inspection, and we’re not going to fix anything.”
- A one-year warranty inspection story
Oh, and of course, our standard satisfaction guarantee applies to these inspections. If you’re not happy with your inspection, you don’t pay us. In short, you have nothing to lose by scheduling a new-construction inspection.
When should a new home be inspected?
There are three types of inspections associated with new-construction homes: pre-drywall, final, and one-year warranty. If you’re having a new home built, get a pre-drywall inspection and a final inspection. If you’re buying a new home that has already been built, get a home inspection. If you’ve already purchased a new home but you skipped the inspection, schedule a one-year warranty inspection before your warranty expires.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has put together a Standard Of Practice for conducting residential pre-drywall inspections, and this is the standard that we at Structure Tech follow. This standard can be viewed online here: https://www.homeinspector.org/files/membersonly/docs/predrywall_standards.pdf
This standard says what’s included, what isn’t, what gets reported on, described, etc. It’s very similar in detail to the ASHI SOP for home inspections, but it covers a different scope. Per the ASHI Pre-Drywall Inspection SOP, this inspection should take place after the following components have been installed:
A. Foundation components,
B. Floor, wall, and roof structural components,
C. Plumbing, electrical, and rough-in components,
D. Windows and exterior doors.
These inspections typically take about 60 – 90 minutes to conduct on-site, and about the same amount of time to write the report. Our fee is $325.
The final inspection is really a standard home inspection, but we call them a ‘final’ inspection to make it clear that it should be done after the home has been completely built. If the builder is running behind on schedule, the home inspection should be re-scheduled. A home inspection conducted too soon in the building process will leave the buyer with a huge punch-list of incomplete stuff. Once that’s all done, who checks it? Do you hire the home inspector to go out again? No, just have the home inspection done when everything is complete.
The photo below shows a home that was almost completed. The overhead doors still had to be installed, but just about everything else was done.
If you had to choose only one type of inspection, it should be the final inspection. This is the most important one.
One-year warranty inspection
A one-year warranty inspection, aka 11-month warranty inspection, is also a standard home inspection with a different name. The difference between a one-year warranty inspection and a final inspection is timing. One-year warranty inspections should be conducted before the builder’s one-year warranty is up. Here in Minnesota, Statute 327A.02 says that home buyers get a one-year warranty on their home that covers “defects caused by faulty workmanship and defective materials due to noncompliance with building standards.”
The vast majority of our one-year warranty inspection clients are people who bought new construction homes without an inspection and later regretted it. They’ve had way more problems with their new home than they had bargained for, and they want to know what else is going on. Once we conduct this inspection and the builder comes out to fix stuff, a lot of neighbors take note of the additional work, ask questions, and then schedule us for their home. One inspection can quickly turn into several inspections in these new developments.