Home Inspections for New Construction Properties

Read Time: 5 minutes

When purchasing a new construction home, the excitement of a pristine, never-lived-in property might tempt you to skip the home inspection step. After all, newly built homes undergo municipal inspections at several different stages of construction.

While these mandated inspections aim to ensure the property meets minimum building codes and standards, they may not catch every potential issue in your new home. Let’s explore the importance of home inspections when building a new home.

Should You Get a Home Inspection on a New Build?

Newly built homes undergo mandatory municipal inspections at key phases of the home’s construction, including the completion of the foundation and framing and the installation of plumbing and electrical systems. These inspections may address common issues that are easily identified, but they usually will not cover every detail.

That being said, it is generally recommended that buyers complete a private home inspection, even for a newly built home.

Benefits of a New Construction Home Inspection

Though they are not required, private home inspections are typically highly recommended for their unique benefits:

1. Early Detection of Issues

Even though the property is new, it is not immune to potential issues, defects or construction errors. Licensed home inspectors are trained to identify issues ranging from minor cosmetic imperfections to more serious structural problems.

Identifying and addressing these issues early on in the construction process can save both time and money. It’s easier to rectify problems before the home is completed rather than after you’ve moved in.

2. Peace of Mind

A thorough home inspection provides peace of mind for the homebuyer. Knowing that your new home has been thoroughly inspected by your chosen professional and is free of significant issues adds confidence to your purchase decision.

3. Negotiating Repairs

If your private inspector reveals any issues in the home, you can work with the builder to address them before the sale is finalized. This may involve the builder making necessary repairs or adjustments to ensure the home meets the agreed-upon standards.

4. Documentation of Home Condition

After completing a private inspection, the home inspector will provide an inspection report. This document outlines the inspector’s findings within the newly built home. You may receive a physical copy of the report, but many modern home inspectors will provide a digital file for easy viewing.

This inspection report is a valuable document for future reference. It provides a snapshot of the home’s condition at the time of purchase, which can be useful for insurance purposes or if you decide to sell the property later on.

5. Understanding Your Investment

Even if you are not planning to request repairs, the inspection allows you to understand the various structures and systems in your new home, along with their condition. This knowledge can be helpful in the future when it comes to maintenance and renovations.

When Should You Schedule a Home Inspection for New Construction?

Now that you’ve considered the benefits, you may wonder when you should seek out a licensed home inspector for your new build. Ideally, you want to have a newly built home inspected twice.

The first home inspection should occur before construction is finished. This inspection, known as a pre-drywall inspection, focuses on framing, system installations, studs, beams, posts, insulation and other similar aspects of the home. Potential issues in these areas are easier to fix if they are identified before construction is completed.

The second inspection should take place before the final walkthrough of the home. The final walkthrough inspection will ensure everything is in order before you close on the property. If you’re buying a prebuilt home or condominium, this may be your only opportunity to complete a home inspection since you weren’t involved in the construction process.

New Construction Home Inspection Checklist

A licensed home inspector will examine various aspects of a newly built home. See the new construction home inspection checklist below for an overview of what your inspector may review:

Exterior Checklist
Foundation:Check for cracks, settling or shifting and ensure proper drainage.
Roof:Inspect for missing or damaged shingles and check flashing around roof penetrations.
Siding and trim:Examine for any warping, damage or improper installation and verify proper clearance from soil and other materials.
Windows and doors:Check for proper installation, sealing and operation and verify that windows and doors are properly caulked.
Driveways and walkways:Inspect for cracks, settling or uneven surfaces.
Interior Checklist
Structure:Check walls, ceilings and floors for cracks or other defects and ensure that load-bearing walls are properly supported.
Plumbing systems:Test faucets, sinks, toilets and showers for proper operation and inspect for leaks in plumbing pipes.
Electrical systems:Test outlets, switches and fixtures, verify proper grounding and check the electrical panel.
HVAC systems:Test heating and cooling systems and check ventilation and exhaust systems.
Insulation and ventilation:Verify proper insulation installation and check ventilation in attics and crawl spaces.

Note: The above checklists are not definitive. Communicate with your individual home inspector to determine their unique inspection checklist.

Common Home Inspection Problems for New Builds

When arranging a private home inspection on your new construction, keep in mind the most common issues among newly built homes:

  • Poor Workmanship: Inconsistencies in the quality of workmanship, from uneven drywall finishes to poorly executed paintwork.
  • Compliance: Despite stringent standards, new homes may have code violations that private inspectors can identify. This may include issues with electrical wiring, plumbing or structural components.
  • Appliance Installation: New appliances may have defects or malfunctions that weren’t apparent during initial installation.
  • Safety Concerns: From improperly installed electrical outlets to missing handrails or balusters, new construction homes may have safety concerns that should be addressed.
  • Warranty Concerns: Ensure that the builder’s warranty covers potential issues identified during the inspection. Knowing the terms of your warranty is crucial for addressing future problems.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost for a New Home?

A home inspection for a new construction home typically costs between $300 and $500. While this expense may deter some buyers, the benefits of a thorough inspection typically outweigh the upfront cost.

It’s important to thoroughly research and compare home inspectors to get the most value for your money. Investing in a detailed private home inspection is a small price to pay for long-term peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.

Aaron Crowe

Aaron Crowe is a seasoned personal finance and real estate journalist. Aaron writes on real estate as it relates to mortgages, refinancing loans and lending for Refi.com.

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