Home Inspections for New Construction

Many buyers think that a professional inspection for a newly constructed home is unnecessary. After all, it’s a new house — everything is brand new and absolutely perfect, right? Wrong. I strongly urge all of my clients to obtain a professional inspection of any home they are purchasing, even it’s just been built.

In the course of my work, I see inspection reports on homes that have been previously lived in, as well as new construction homes. The lists of defects, however, are pretty much the same in length regardless of the age of construction. In fact, new construction homes sometimes have a longer list of defects because there is no one living there to have found and fixed those defects yet. For example, a switch that is supposed to be wired to an outlet may not be working properly, or a shower diverter may leak. While the builder probably checked these items upon installation, he may well have missed them, especially if it is a large construction project with many units or homes. A professional home inspection, however, should uncover these issues and bring them to the seller’s attention before it’s too late.

Many builders do not include inspection contingencies in their contracts; however, these can be negotiated into the contract by your attorney. Larger builders, however, may not allow any inspection contingency in the contract at all. In such cases, the buyer should be wary. While most builders, large and small, encourage a pre-closing walkthrough to nail down any outstanding punchlist items, sometimes this is not enough. If a unit or home is ready for occupancy when you make your offer, I strongly recommend you schedule a home inspection immediately!