Many of us choose to buy a new construction home because we think it will save us money on repairs and maintenance in the long run.
However, if your home was built by contractors looking to cut corners and save money, you could be liable for massive repair bills.
That’s why it pays to conduct a new construction home inspection to avoid unexpected repairs and construction flaws.
Should You Do a Home Inspection of a New Construction?
Yes, you should do a home inspection on new construction because new construction homes are often not free from defects. Unlike older homes, which require owners to disclose any known defects, builders will not market a new construction home with known defects. However, many of these defects will not surface from a poor build until shortly after you’ve moved in.
Many contractors and builders are notorious for cutting corners and sacrificing quality materials and best management practices to pocket the extra cash.
Additionally, municipal codes will not protect you from a lot of defects. Typically, these codes incentivize lazy contractors and builders to do the bare minimum to pass local inspections.
For that reason, we don’t just recommend doing one quick walk-through inspection of a new construction build but multiple inspections.
How Many Times Should a New Construction Home Get Inspected?
Ideally, you will want to do multiple home inspections on new construction.
The first inspection should ideally be done by your contractor in coordination with a proper quality assurance expert. Your contractor should do this before the concrete is laid to ensure that the foundation is properly leveled and adequate drainage and stormwater management procedures are in place.
Be sure to only work with builders or contractors who have gone through the proper steps to survey and inspect the land before laying down the foundation and erecting the home’s frame.
Next, you’ll want to inspect the frame of the home personally. You should do this before the walls are hung to get a view of the guts of the house. You’ll be able to see how plumbing, insulation, ductwork, and electrical wiring stack up throughout your home and spot any defects before drywall is erected.
The final inspection should be done before purchasing your home when the builder represents the finished product.
Fortunately, we’ve provided a new construction home inspection checklist so that you and your inspector know what defects to spot before you make a purchase.
New Construction Home Inspection Checklist
- Has the building passed municipal inspection?
- Does the foundation have any signs of damage?
- Are floors even?
- Are decks, pavers, or patios properly level?
- Are wooden decks/patios properly nailed and secured?
- Do shingles lie flat and flush?
- Are there drafts around windows, door frames, and where walls connect?
- Is the trim secure?
- Are there any bounces or squeaks on the floor?
- Does water drain away from the property?
- Are there areas near crawl spaces that have leaks?
- Is the home properly insulated?
- Does the electrical and HVAC system work properly?
- Are railings properly secure or babyproofed?
- Does plumbing flow properly?
- Are there any cracks or leaks in pipes or ductwork?
New Construction Home Inspection Cost
If cost is a concern, don’t worry. The average home inspection cost for a single-family home runs between $300-$500. Although this can add up if multiple inspections are done, you could save tons in the long run by spotting structural issues before they manifest.
Besides, if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in a property, it pays to take extra precautions.
Additional Reasons to Do a Home Inspection of a New Construction
1. Save on Costly Repairs
A simple $300-$500 investment could save you tens of thousands to avoid major structural repairs. For example, the cost to replace a damaged or poorly laid foundation could range from $20,000 on the low-end to $100,000 entirely.
Unfortunately, some major repairs may be harder to spot until after you’ve lived in the home for a few months or years. For example, poorly installed floor joists, support beams, and other framing components could start to present problems months after installation in the form of sinking subfloors that take months to settle in. Additionally, these structural repairs range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to replace.
You’ll also be on the hook for patching up any minor repairs, such as sealing vents, blocking drafts around doors/windows, and even just securing railways and trim that are poorly screwed in. Of course, these repairs will quickly add up.
2. Make Your Home Energy Efficient
Another way to save money is by investing in energy-efficient construction.
For example, suppose your builder didn’t partner with a proper energy consultant. In that case, you could consider hiring one to conduct a cost-analysis of possible repairs and additions that will make your home more energy-efficient. These repairs could range from small projects like weatherstripping to replacing entire HVAC systems with more energy-efficient units.
3. Bargaining Power
Finally, inspecting a newer home and finding defects gives you more bargaining power over the final price. Contractors will either be forced to eat the cost of conducting repairs or negotiate a lower final price for you to repair the issue. Either way, completing a timely inspection of a new construction home will help you avoid liabilities that are of no fault of your own.
New construction homes arguably require more care and inspection because many issues do not present themselves until years of use and dwelling.
For this reason, we recommend conducting multiple home inspections of new construction homes to protect you from any liabilities.
Additionally, be sure to work with contractors who have worked with qualified consultants to help them follow best management practices when constructing a new home.