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Should a new home construction have a home inspection?

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September 02 2010 - Wilmington
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Best Answer
Hey J,

I always recommend to clients to get a home inspection even on new construction.  More than half the time they decline due to trying save some money.  I had a listing sell recently that was built during the recent boom and 5 of the piers were not touching the girder.  It caused cracks in the walls due to the weight of 3 levels above.

It was not caught by the builder or during the CO process.  The issue has been resolved but required 3 times of jacking up the girder and putting in shims.  Everyone is now happy, but could have become a big deal.
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September 02 2010
You absolutely should get an independent and licensed inspector on EVERY new home, no matter who the builder is.  Do NOT rely on county inspections nor on the builder's punch list. Very often, things are missed even by the county inspector who is really only there to try to ascertain whether the build was done to code. A licensed inspector will look at so many other things, including drainage slope around the home, the positioning of nailheads in the roof shingle, the temperature differential in the HVAC input versus output. A home warranty will often only cover SOME of the mechanical systems, and the builder's warranty and manufacturer's warranty are limited as well. With many builders having declared bankruptcy and unable to stand by their warranties, my buyers are grateful that I pushed for a home inspector who alerted them to the things they need to monitor BEFORE they became an issue.
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September 04 2010
Absolutely. You should have the home inspected pre-drywall this will give your inspector the opportunity to see the plumbing and wiring that is buried in the wall. It aslo allows him to examine the framing, and foundation work.
You should then have a final inspection once the house has been completed. This second inspection will be used as your punchlist with the builder.
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September 03 2010
Yes, yes, yes, oh and also, YES! Unless you have the expertise to evaluate the quality of the workmanship in your new potential home always have a home inspection. If it turns out to be a boring hour or two, that is great news! You can rest easy at night knowing you have a well built home.
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September 03 2010
Every time. The "pick-up list" will be longer than a resale.
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September 02 2010
What has not already been mentioned is WHEN to do the home inspection in new construction.  Pre-drywall or after the CO?  I would actually recommend hiring a General Contractor to take a look at the home before drywall and a licensed ASHI home inspector to do one after the CO.

I have never had a new home inspection come back with no results.  But you would be amazed at the types of things inspectors would find that you might not come the time for your 10/11/12 month punchlist walkthrough.

A warranty will cover things that might fail, but a GC and inspector will find things that may never fail but could otherwise be a safety hazard or worse... not to code.
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September 02 2010
Personally, I've discovered that inspection can be useless, especially with new construction since new construction homes have warranties. Which means that if a problem is discovered, it's usually covered by the warranty anyway.

With pre-owned homes, an inspection might be helpful but they don't catch every serious problem so there's nothing you can do if you purchase a home that, otherwise, you would not have purchased if the problem was caught by the inspector. 
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September 02 2010
Yes, and maybe even an energy audit.
How well were the walls, roof and crawl space insulated?
How well were the doors and windows sealed?
Is there simply an all-house exhaust fan or is there a fresh air exchange system?
What happens to the home systems in a hurricane?
How do the efficiency of the HVAC, the hot water and the electrical systems stack up to what is currently available in the market?
How much will the home cost to run on an annual basis while we continue to rely on foreign energy to power it?
and on and on....
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September 02 2010
ALL THE MORE REASON TO DO SO.

You might even want to come back in 10 months to have a second one completed so that you can check for settling, as some of the other pros mentioned.
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September 02 2010
Solid answers by both men.

Yes. Having an inspection performed by a reputable inspector, though forcing the necessary expense, can save thousands.

Good luck to you!
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September 02 2010
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You should get a warranty with a new house. 

BUT would you rather try to force a builder to fix problems after you buy or before they have your money?

Houses can be built wrong. Serious and expensive mistakes can happen.

You buy it, find the problems and then the builder goes out of business what do you do then?

Having an inspection done can eliminate this scenario.
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September 02 2010
 
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