Common New Build Home Problems You Should Know

Did you recently purchase a brand-new home from a builder? Are you worried about potential issues with the new construction home? We’ve been there a few times, and let me tell you that it isn’t all that bad.

Keep in mind that many home builders are mass-producing homes with the help of hundreds of tradespeople. It is very common to have mistakes, and it’s one of the reasons why I think you should have a home inspection for a new build.

While the PDI inspection and post-closing inspections are helpful – it does not compare to a third pair of unbiased eyes. Our independent home inspector was from Toronto, and he did an amazing and thorough job on our home inspection.

New-built homes can sometimes come with their own set of problems or challenges, but most can be fixed or corrected. Here are some common issues that homeowners may experience with newly built homes:

Quality of Construction

Poor Workmanship

Some builders may rush the construction process, leading to poor workmanship. This can result in issues such as uneven floors, gaps in walls, or other structural problems. While these issues are caught in the PDI and post-closing inspection – it creates additional work for builders and homeowners.

Leaks and Water Damage

Improper installation of roofing, windows, or plumbing can lead to leaks and water damage, which can be particularly problematic. An additional item to note is that some new homes will have a humidifier running in the basement after construction. This is to extract all the moisture that has been trapped in the home during the building process.

Poor HVAC Venting

Incorrectly laying out the HVAC system can cause low airflow to certain parts of the home, and worse – it can also lead to poor air circulation as the intake vents need to collect air from certain parts of the home. We had this issue in our master bedroom – and the builders had to come back to correct this issue.

Unfinished Work

Incomplete or Shoddy Finishes

Homeowners often find issues with finishes such as paintwork, tiling, or carpentry. These are known as “snagging” issues and may require the builder to come back and address them. We had many paint-related issues around the home, such as missing paint on the front door, uneven trimming, and even a missing window sill.

Dents and Damages

A common issue in many new homes is the dents, dings, and chips on the walls, floors, and installed woodwork. During construction, there are many people going in and out of the home, and a simple drop of the hammer can ding certain types of flooring.

Delays in Construction

Timeline Extensions

Many new build projects experience delays, which can be frustrating for homeowners who were expecting to move in by a specific date. Delays can be caused by various factors, including weather, labor shortages, or supply chain issues. In Toronto, Durham Region, Peel Region, and Halton; we’ve seen many builders delay new construction home projects.

Landscaping and Outdoor Spaces

Incomplete Landscaping

Builders may not always complete landscaping or outdoor areas as part of the initial construction, leaving homeowners with bare or unfinished yards for months. Our builder only laid down sod about 6 months into our homeownership. We received our finished and paved driveway a year into our ownership. Obviously, this is weather-dependent – but keep in mind that landscaping isn’t always the priority when it comes to building out the home.

Poor Quality Materials

Substandard Materials

Some builders may use lower-quality materials to cut costs, leading to issues with durability and longevity. For example, you might notice that all the garage doors in your new neighborhood have a common color. These garage doors arrive in a base white coat – and the builders will then paint all the garage doors. It’s one of those ways builders can save money on building materials.

Warranty and Customer Service

Difficulty in Obtaining Repairs

Some homeowners report challenges in getting builders to address warranty issues promptly or efficiently. While the post-closing inspection issues need to be addressed within the first 90 days – homeowners still have a seven-year warranty on newly built homes. It is important to work with your local warranty office to have your builder address issues.

Regulatory Compliance

Failure to Meet Building Codes: In some cases, builders may fail to meet local building codes or regulations, leading to potential safety hazards or legal issues.

Electrical Issues

Some electricians may take shortcuts and may not set up homes with GFCI circuits when they should. In some cases, we’ve seen electricians pairing the basement outlets with outlets on the main floor on the same breaker.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Issues with Utilities

Problems with electrical wiring, plumbing, or HVAC systems can arise, causing inconvenience and the need for repairs. A home in Whitby received many electrical issues due to the home being incorrectly connected to the main power outside the home. In this case, the local electrical company had to come out and fix the issue for the home.

Construction Noise

Ongoing construction in the area can lead to noise disturbances for new homeowners. With the current new construction climate, many homeowners are taking possession of their homes, with construction still ongoing in the area.

To mitigate these issues, it’s crucial for homebuyers to thoroughly research and choose reputable builders, inspect the property carefully during construction, and communicate effectively with the builder throughout the process. Additionally, understanding the warranty and having a professional home inspection before finalizing the purchase can help identify and address potential problems early on.

In cases where issues arise with a new build, new homeowners in provinces such as Ontario would be covered by coverage offered by Tarion.