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How to Prepare the Home Buyer for a New Construction Home

New Home Construction: Inspecting Roof Support


Set Expectations - Old vs New:

Buyers of newly built homes often have higher expectations than buyers of resale homes, and rightly so. Those expectations however, may not align with the type of service being provided by the Home Inspector. Depending on the company, the Home Inspector may restrict all of their inspection comments to only those that they believe are faulty practices or code violations. There are some companies that go a step further, and will indicate areas of concern that aren't necessarily due to code violations. For example, if a door rubs on its frame when it's closing, this door would need to be adjusted. This is not a code violation, and for all intent and purposes, does not prevent the buyer from utilizing the home in any way. Some companies will note this in their report, while others may not.

For the reasons stated above, it is important that the buyer establish a working relationship with the Inspector early on. This will allow them to communicate clearly what their expectations are so that the Inspector can let them know if they are able to meet those expectations.

To Code or not to Code?

Many home buyers of newly constructed homes go into the inspection process expecting that the Home Inspector will identify code violations. While this is a reasonable expectation, the reality is that Home Inspectors are state licensed, but the code is administered at the county level and enforced by county Inspectors. This does not mean that a trained Inspector cannot identify potential code issues. It is saying a buyer needs to retain services from an Inspector that knows how to properly articulate a potential code issue without direct reference to the building code.

Builder Opposition

While this is not in every case, it is not uncommon for home buyers of new homes to get pushback from the builder when the issue of a private Home Inspector is discussed. It is often said that the home is being inspected by county officials and will pass county code; therefore a private Home Inspector is not needed. It is important that the buyer understand that the home inspection is not simply about the building code, it is also about function. County inspectors don't climb roofs, don't inspect attics, and seldom spend more than 15-20 minutes in a home. The buyer needs to be prepared to articulate their needs to the builder to ensure that they can retain the services they need without unnecessary friction. In many instances, the provisions around the use of private Home Inspectors is contained in the purchase agreement between the buyer and the builder, but these provisions are often overlooked. It is advised that the buyer fully understand the purchase contract and its statements regarding private Home Inspectors.

The Myth: It's new - there can't be anything wrong with it!

The most common refrain we hear in this industry is that the home is newly built, so there is no need for a Home Inspector. If we understand that the home inspection is not simply about the building code, and instead look at the home as being built by a human being, we can accept that human beings make mistakes. A s a result, we should also accept that the use of a private Home Inspector will be in the best interest of the home buyer, as it provides another level of scrutiny and will ultimately lead to a better experience of the finished product for the buyer.

Timing: the builder's schedule vs your schedule

When building a home, there is a construction schedule that is adhered to as closely as possible by the builder. The builder's schedule can get interrupted by supply issues, weather issues, public utility issues, and a number of other issues. Therefore, the buyer must be somewhat flexible and be able to respond quickly, if an inspection has to be adjusted due to the builder's schedule. That means that timing is everything. The buyer needs to allow themselves time to research Home Inspectors so they are prepared when it is time for the inspections they need.

What does the builder "have to" fix?

The question: 'Does the builder have to fix issues raised by the home inspector?' is posed quite frequently. In short, what the builder will and will not correct depends on two factors. One: whether or not the issue is a code related issue (builders will address these without question); Two: the relationship between builder and buyer and the buyer's willingness to pursue the issue. It is our position that, since the buyer is making a significant investment, all legitimate issues should be presented to the builder for corrective action, code or not.

Decide on your home inspector early!

Deciding on a Home Inspector early on in the process should be done whether you're purchasing a brand new home or an existing home. This decision is even more important because there are schedules to keep as it relates to new construction. The buyer should not be in a position to make a hasty decision, especially if they intend to retain the Inspector's services throughout the construction process. There are also schedules and limited allowances for inspections when purchasing an existing home. The most important one is the time allowed to have the home inspection performed. Doing the research for the Home Inspector early will allow for a smooth transition in this process.

The single biggest investment most of us will make is building a new home. In that process, mistakes can and often do happen. Having someone to identify mistakes that could cost thousands to correct years from now is important. With an average price of 0.001% of the purchase price, a private home inspection from an experienced professional is an investment in protecting your smartest decision. Schedule an inspection with us today by visiting our website or calling 844-675-8851.

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