Home Wreck


Written by:
Wes Kelley, Certified Inspector
7 Oaks Home Inspection, LLC

Who could believe a brand new home might be wrecked in under a year? Not from a tornado or flood but from unforeseen mistakes made during construction. Sad to say, some brand new homes have serious hidden defects that cost time and money to repair. According to Consumer Reports 15% of new homes have serious problems. Many problems do not show up until months or years after moving in. Fortunately, there is an answer to this problem.

In general, a buyer puts his trust in a General Contractor to oversee the entire project and keep to the good standards and quality workmanship. The home buyer also trusts that the county and city inspections will ensure good construction. However some local counties do not require code inspections. (These counties are also trusting that builders are building to standards.) Code inspections are targeted to specific items, for the purpose of quality and standards compliance. Home inspections cover hundreds of items with an emphasis on safety and function. Code Inspectors and Home Inspectors have different job descriptions and serve different purposes. Both deal with hidden problems – problems that are unknown until they are looked for. If hidden problems are not found and fixed they can be the recipe for wrecking a beautiful new home.

In defense of builders, it is nearly impossible for a general contractor to personally inspect each and every aspect and phase of each and every project. Often professional builders will hire an inspector for stage inspections on their projects and or offer a warranty on their homes. However, warranties by and large have exclusions and limitations which might prevent a repair. A reputable builder will do whatever is necessary to make things right. Unfortunately, not every builder is reputable. Also not every builder has the time and money to fix a ‘major repair’ and not all ‘major repairs’ are included in the warranty. Builders lessen their liability and chance of unknown mistakes by utilizing a professional inspector.

More and more local banks and mortgage companies contract with a professional inspector for documented, stage of construction inspections before they complete the final draw. They request the construction project have inspections at four different stages or phases. The first inspection covers the footings and foundation. The second inspection is the exterior wall and roof frame system. The third inspection is the open wall or pre-drywall/pre-insulation inspection. These three inspections allow visualization of specific areas that cannot be seen later. The last inspection is the walk-thru inspection which should be done before closing. Stage of construction inspections give a much better chance of finding and correcting any missed items or errors.

If you are considering the purchase of a newly built home examine your contract agreement for an inspection clause. If an inspection has not been done, schedule one before closing. Like the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Home Inspectors say, “An ounce of inspection is worth a pound of repair!”. “Home Wrecks” can be avoided with the security and peace of mind that comes from a professional home inspection.

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