Should New Construction Have a Home Inspection?

new construction home inspection

It is recommended for a new construction to have a home inspection, whether it’s a pre-delivery inspection or a professional home inspection by a certified professional. The home inspection will bring light to any issues in the home prior to taking possession.

An existing home would always go through a home inspection, because you need to know what may be wrong with the home. As the buyer, you need to be aware of current issues in the home, as well as potential issues that may come up in the future.

A professional home inspector will complete their assessment for the property and provide a detailed report. This is the due diligence you’re doing prior to making the investment. A simple $500 home inspection can save a buyer hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair costs! It’s the reason why a home inspection should never be passed on.

However, what if you’re purchasing a brand new construction home? Do you need a home inspection for a new build home? According to some experts, the consensus says, yes. You should get a home inspection completed on a new construction home.

Home Inspection During Construction

When purchasing a new build home, your agreement will include a pre-delivery inspection (PDI). As the name suggests, this is a pre-delivery walkthrough and not a complete home inspection.

During this stage, the buyer of the home walks through the property with the builder’s representative to make sure every upgrade is built as requested and that the home is built to perfection. This is when the buyer gets to point out chips, dents, poor paint jobs, missing hardware, paint on the floors, etc.

Pre-delivery Inspection for New Home

It doesn’t matter how small or large the issue is – this is when it should be brought to the attention of the builder. The builder will try to get it done prior to closing. However, please note the your PDI might be very close to closing.

During the PDI (pre-delivery inspection) it can be extremely difficult to stop and make sure the build is correct because the representative is moving the inspection along. They will try to moderate the inspection. The builder representative will help point out faults, but you should be the lead in this inspection.

Never be afraid to speak up about potential finishing or structural issues in the home. We understand that you may not be a professional on structural issues or building code, but try your best to question anything that does not sit well.

Whether it’s a slightly crooked cabinet door or a less than smooth rolling door – it should all be mentioned. We’ve heard of home buyers with over 140 items on a PDI list, while some only had 25!

A brand new build will be covered by Tarion under it’s 30-day and 12-month form.

It’s recommended that homeowners get a home inspection between the 3-month and 12-month period. This will give the home enough time to go through different temperatures and weather conditions. The best time for a new constriction home inspection would be around the 10-11 month period.

A home inspection will not identify paint chips and finishing issues, but rather structural, electrical, plumbing and anything that hinders the home’s integrity and structure. After all, this is what’s most important for your asset. So, how much does a new construction home inspection cost? On average, it can cost $500-$900 for a home inspection on a new build.

Once the home inspection report is in, you can complete the 12-month form and submit it for processing. The PDI is standard with all new construction home purchases, but a thorough home inspection is not.

So, can you bring a home inspector during the pre-delivery inspection (PDI)? You are free to bring anyone with you during the PDI process, but a home inspector will likely come with their tools and devices. It can sometimes make the builder representative nervous.

Ideally, it would be a good idea to communicate with the builder to see if they are comfortable with you bringing in a professional home inspector. While a structural inspection is not required during the PDI, it is up to the homeowner.

What to Look for in a New Construction Home Inspection?

When it’s time for a new construction home inspection, you need to first choose a professional home inspector with experience in new builds. A good inspector will be able to thoroughly look after various elements in the home such as your plumbing, electrical, structure, foundation, insulation and grading.

Most homeowners are unaware of building codes and structural requirements. The majority of new build owners do not complete a private home inspection. Let’s face it – one of the reasons people purchase a new construction home is to avoid faults and renovations.

If you’re going to be brand new homeowner – you have a few options when it comes to inspection. You will have access to:

  • PDI (Pre-delivery inspection)
  • 30-day form
  • 12-month form

While things may be covered under warranty – they will only be covered or fixed if you bring it up. Without a thorough home inspection, you may never know if sufficient insulation was added or if the proper codes were followed.

We’re aware of a couple that completed an inspection at the 10-month mark (a good point of time) and they realized that the AC unit was insufficient for the home, considering the size of the home. It was noted and finally replaced for the homeowner. This one change outweighed the $700+tax cost of the home inspection.

Have you ever filed a claim for insurance or any other type of damage? As you might know, going through claims can be extremely time consuming. During your claims process, everything will be looked at to ensure you are not at fault for the potential claim.

These are all reasons why we recommend a new construction home inspection. Since this is not so common in our city, our builders don’t face many requests for changes during the first year. But, it’s a known fact that builder issues do come up.

When you can get the builder to address any potential deficiencies in the home during the first year can ensure you don’t have any surprises in the future.

What Are Common Problems with New Build Houses?

While new construction homes minimize the need for renovations, it’s important to remember that defects can still occur. Most builders have subcontracted companies and workers who perform the work on new build homes. Even though these are qualified professionals, they work extremely fast. Since multiple contractors work on site, it’s possible for things to be missed.

Even though they’re not totally considered a new construction poor quality, things can be missed. The following are the most common problems with new build homes.

Incomplete Construction Work

It’s always possible something may have been missed in the construction of your home. A home build has hundreds of project items, and something as small as caulking or insulation could’ve been missed. These are issues that should be found during the PDI step of your inspection. However, a hired home inspector can also help identify things that may have been missed.

Missed Painting Work

The paint work is not always vetted by the builders, so you’ll sometimes spot issues with missing paint or spotty patches on your walls. Whatever the issue is – no matter how small; it should be mentioned to your builder. Once you move in, the paint work can’t really be fought over.

In a new construction home, paint work is sometimes missing in hidden areas such as closets, basements, laundry rooms, pantry rooms, door frames, etc.

Door Alignment Issues

During your PDI, you should look at every door carefully with it open and closed. If doors are already open for the rooms; try closing them. Make sure they doors are aligned well, they close and that they don’t have large gaps on the floor. The same goes for closet doors, cabinet doors and drawers. Test, test, test!

The issue can be something as easy as tightening a screw. Let your builder know so it can be done in a timely manner.

Drywall Damage

There’s many things that take place when a new home is being built. Equipment is brought in, people move in and out and supplies are left around. If you notice any damage, dents, scratches to the walls – speak up. While inspecting the walls, also look at your baseboards and crown moldings!

Flooring Scratches

Again, as in the last example – scratches and dents are possible on new floors. You need to carefully inspect your floors to make sure they are not lose, don’t have spaces and no damage. Laminate flooring can get damaged with water – so inspect carefully.

HVAC Issues

Make sure your heating and cooling systems are working as they should. If you feel the heating and cooling system is not sufficient for the size of your home, you should consider asking a home inspector for advice.

Window Issues

Make sure all your windows are installed properly with correct insulation. If you feel a draft or think the insulation is not sufficient, let the builder know. Additionally, test out all your windows and make sure they open and close without obstacles. A broken thermal seal is a common issue for windows.

Incorrect Upgrades

If you upgraded a particular item in the home, ensure it is done so correctly. For example, if you upgraded to 200-amp service, make sure the right panel is installed. A common issue is receiving the wrong appliances. The builder works with dozens of homes at the same time, delivering hundreds of appliances. It’s easy to get the wrong appliance delivered to your home. Make sure the model and size you purchased is what you get.

Plumbing Leaks

A plumbing issue can get worse over time, so open and test all faucets. Make sure there are no leaks. Additionally, check if all stop valves are installed, and ask to see the water heater. If you upgraded to a tankless water heater – make sure you know how it functions.

A common problem with new construction homes plumbing is to see the cold and hot pipes to get reversed.

Draining and Grading Issues

For new construction homes, the new grading requires to be settled. If the grading is not proper and drainage is not handled carefully, it can lead to complications. When water seeps into the foundation, it could cause foundation cracks in the winter. You want to avoid any negative drainage, so always consult with a professional home inspector.

Concrete Cracks

Cracks in the concrete can occur when an improper mix was used. For example, if the concrete mix used more water than required, it can cause shrinkage cracks. Once the cracks open up, they can lead to water seepage, which ultimately expands the concrete. It can be fixed by proper concrete sealing, but needs to be caught early in the home’s life. Generally, these issues can be identified in the first year after the new build.

Dirty Ducts

You might be wondering how you’d have dirty ducts in a brand new home? The HVAC system would be installed with the vents, but construction would still take place. There is a considerable amount of dirt and dust that can sit in your HVAC system. Your builder should be cleaning the vents to make sure it’s clean. A dirty heating and cooling system is not the best way to start it’s life – as it can cause damage.

To avoid this, some builders use covers on all the floor vents and air vents. If these covers are loose or not installed, sawdust and other debris can quickly get into your HVAC system. You can request the builder hire a duct cleaning service to remove the debris.

As you can see, there are several possible new home construction defects you need to consider. From nails sticking out of frames to doors not closing properly – everything can be fixed if noticed! A proper home inspection after you get possession of the home can help you minimize issues in the long-term.

The twelve items mentioned above could be added to your home inspection checklist, as these are what to look for in a new construction home inspection.