Inspections On New Construction

It’s one of those frequently asked questions: “Should I get an inspection on a newly constructed home?” Great question and I usually tell my buyers that the answer is yes/no and I’ll explain why.

You see, most builders offer a one-year bumper to bumper warranty on the home that they just sold you. Moreover, during the due diligence process, buyers usually get a chance to do two walkthroughs with the warranty and service superintendent. The purpose of the first walkthrough is to point out any defects, problems, or items that you think need to be fixed in the house. The second walkthrough is to make sure that the items have been corrected and to take one more look to see if you missed anything in the first walkthrough. I know a lot of people that get worried if they still missed something after the two walkthrough inspections. I usually tell them not to worry because they have a full year to have the builder’s service people come back and fix something that they may have missed.

Then the question comes up about hidden defects that the buyer can’t see like structural problems, stucco or siding issues, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and etc. Buyers say, “Shouldn’t we check that the builder isn’t hiding any problems by doing a full blown inspection?” Yes, you should, but I think that there is a better way to handle it. Since you have a full one-year warranty, why not wait until 10 months into the warranty and then spend a few hundred dollars for a full blown inspection? By doing so in month 10, you then can come up with a laundry list of items that need to be repaired or replaced, including hidden defects discovered by the inspector. Then, before your warranty is up, you can get a complete checkup and fix up of your home, courtesy of the builder. If you are concerned about closing and moving into a home that has structural problems, don’t worry; most builders offer 10-year warranties on structural defects. Everything can be discovered and fixed in the first year.

In my opinion, this is the best of both worlds. You get all the things that need to be fixed, replaced or repaired before you close and move in. Then you “test drive” the home for 10 months and get another list of items fixed, replaced or repaired with no money out of your pocket except the fee for inspection.

Dan Polimino is a Realtor with Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty. He can be reached at DPolimino@fullerproperties.com and www.coloradodreamhouse.com/denverpost

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