So do you need a home inspection for a new home? A lot of times people look at a home inspector as someone you hire when you’re purchasing a resale or a pre-owned home. However, a new home might actually be more applicable and even easier to do than a resale home. How would it work?
Well, if you’re contracting with a builder to build you a new home, you may want to have that inspector visit the build site two or three times during the construction. Maybe once when the concrete is poured for the foundation, once when the framing is done, and once after rough-in is done meaning that electrical wires and plumbing is put into the walls. And maybe once when the finish work is starting to be done, drywall, the dry end of the roof, etc. And the reason why is that many defects in a house or even just substandard work, might be hidden behind drywall. If you have an inspector look at the process as it’s being done, you can make sure that it’s being done properly.
Now, certainly, the government is going to inspect that house as it’s being built to sign off on permits and approvals. However, there are some things that may not be picked up on by the government that may be legal but may not be part of your contract meaning that if they’re supposed to be a certain number of stud bays in the wall or certain size headers above windows, even though what’s being put in might be legal, it may not be matching what the contract says on your build sheet. You may also find building procedures that technically conform to the builder requirements of your county, but are not best practices for quality builds. Also, your inspector might be able to take photos of behind-the-wall construction. So later on if you’re looking to add something hanging on the wall you know where the studs are, you know where openings are that could open up a room, and you have a record of where the wires are. The inspector can document all this for later use. Could you do it yourself? Certainly, you could do picture taking as you go and you probably want to do that anyways, but an inspector may also have some helpful suggestions on how to improve the build so that your home is either of higher quality or has higher usability.
For example, when you’re putting up a wall you have vertical studs inside the wall. If you put up different types of mounting brackets behind the wall, called ledger boards or cleats, you may be able to have some horizontal-facing boards that you can nail into, maybe at a certain height maybe you put them there to hang your cabinets in your kitchen. Maybe you put them behind a wall where you know you might add some custom-built materials afterward like a bookcase. Your inspector might suggest that and it might cost you a little more money with the builder but while they’re working on the house is a cheap time to do it. They may also find technical violations that have been caught early so the inspector doesn’t reject it. You might have the ability to avoid delays in the delivery of your home if your inspector finds them and the builder can repair or fix the problem before the county building inspector sees it. You might not have to wait two or three weeks for another inspection.
We’ve seen a lot with plumbing where the wrong types of transitions were put in place and the private inspector found it first. The builder fixed it so that when the city inspector came, it was sailed through. They didn’t have to fix it and come back two weeks later. So consider that it will cost you a little more money, maybe a few hundred bucks every time they come out, they come out three times, you’re talking $700-$800 bucks. But you’re talking about a home that could be worth half a million dollars that you’re going to live in for 10, 20, 30+ years. Spending a few hundred bucks an hour or close to a thousand might be a good investment to make sure that you have peace of mind and also a higher-quality build. An inspector a lot of times can suggest things that may not even cost more money but could be really good tricks to have your house more usable, safer, and of higher quality. And have more knowledge of best practices on that build. Let us know what you think in the comments.
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