Imagine that your client just fell in love with a new construction, four-story townhouse. Its ultra-modern look is what convinced them to make an offer. The area is lively and the neighbors have only great things to say about the community. The listing/seller’s agent informs you that there will likely be a bidding war and insists that your client make the absolute best offer possible to secure the unit. The listing agent asks if your client is willing to forgo a home inspection. What should you do? It is new construction and other units appear to be in perfect condition, but what if something goes wrong after your client closes?
A new home should be free of defects right? Ideally, yes, but realtors likely know this is not always the case. An ultra modern townhome may appear shiny and perfect, but looks can be deceiving. In fact, common issues that arise for new homes involve plumbing, loose flooring, sticky windows, and even framing issues. These things may not be immediately visible, especially if they are not expected to be a problem. They can potentially be covered under a new home warranty (typically one year in duration), but they must be discovered in time.
If you are ever asked by a listing agent or your client whether skipping a home inspection is advised, think of the potential consequences. When construction goes wrong, homeowners can get caught up in contentious legal battles. Some builders are responsible for the construction of hundreds of homes, meaning it is quite possible that things may be overlooked or improperly finished.
To illustrate, consider the case of Seven Bridges Homeowners A ssociation and their suit against luxury home builder, GL Homes. The builder completed construction of 701 single-family homes, in 2019. It was just one more addition to their excellent reputation and impressive portfolio of builds. Does this mean they are immune from making costly mistakes? Absolutely not. Some of the issues addressed in the HOA’s complaint include: damaged stucco, exposed wiring, and water intrusion. Thus, no matter how large, reputable, and experienced the builder is, an inspection is appropriate.
If a new home is under warranty, homebuyers benefit in key ways:
Saving on the expense of future repairs. For example, a roof leak will typically be covered by the builder. Considering that roof repairs can range from $400 - $7,000 depending on the mitigation needs, this is something a buyer will want covered by warranty.
Considering the occupants' health. The same issues that plague older homes can affect new ones as well. Mold for example, can present itself no matter how old the home is or where it is located. Other considerations include proper natural gas connections as well sealed barriers to block insect and rodent infestation.
Protecting the investment. Help keep your client’s resale value in tact. Homes with a laundry list of unresolved or major issues can potentially affect negotiations when it comes time to sell the home.
The earlier an inspector gets involved with the home building process, the better. Ideally, it is recommended to have a newly built home inspected three times. The initial inspection should be the foundation inspection, followed by the pre-drywall inspection to help ensure the framing, electrical, plumbing, etc, is properly framed. The subsequent inspection should occur upon completion of the home to evaluate all systems are functioning properly.
Inspections should be thought of as protecting a clients investment. There will be only one opportunity to inspect the foundation and framing. With new home prices averaging over $500K in the DMV, there is no better way to protect your investment. Schedule an inspection today by visiting our website or contacting us.