Why buyers often forego inspections.
There are several reasons why buyers of new homes forego getting a construction inspection:
- The inspection is an additional cost.
- The home will be inspected by city inspectors as part of the building process.
- Requiring inspections will somehow be an "insult" to the builder.
- Buyers plan to rely on the builder's one year home warranty.
- Buyers intend to inspect the home themselves.
The inspector will help protect your interests.
Your builder has obligations to you to complete the home on time and in a workmanlike manner. Your obligation is to pay for the project per the terms of your contract. Remember that your relationship with your builder is contractual, not personal.
You may have a contract to buy the finished product from a builder. Or, you may own the lot, and have a contract with the builder for the construction.
Of course, you want to build rapport with your builder. That is a smart way to proceed. You will need to be able to communicate and work together. However, it is not unreasonable to use a third party inspector to look out for your interests. The inspector can help you to present items to your builder that need remediation or attention.
Inspect before pouring the foundation.
If you are building on a lot that you own, it is crucial to check the foundation with respect to building lines and easements. If the foundation overlaps these lines, you will have a title issue. On very complicated foundations or difficult lots, you should have an engineer check the progress several times.
If you are buying a home under construction on a builder's lot, ask your inspector to double check the foundation placement against the survey. If you do not use an engineer, ask the general inspector check the steel content, depth of piers, post tension cables and other parts of the foundation.
Inspect before installing sheetrock.
Ask your inspector to review the home after framing, AC ductwork, electrical wiring, and plumbing piping are complete. There will be many items to check at this time. Review your window and door placements and outlet locations. Check for broken plumbing pipes, crushed ductwork, missing flashing, inadequate bracing, or damaged framing.
If you have made changes, confirm that these have been made. This is an area where mistakes are often made.
It is easier for the builder to make corrections before sheetrock has been installed. Keep in mind that builders in all price ranges will have items to correct. This is a normal part of the building process.
Inspect before closing.
Schedule this inspection before your walk-thru with the builder. The home will need to have all utilities turned on. Again, there are many items to review. Your inspector can check the plumbing fixtures, flashing, weep holes in masonry, appliance operation, electrical outlets, drainage, window operation, AC and heat, wall finish, deck supports, and more.
Later, when you sell your home, you will be glad that you had the inspection. Some of the items may seem minor, but they will come up later when your buyer has the house inspected.
Give your inspection report to the builder so that items can be handled before closing. If some items cannot be done immediately, get a signed statement that they will be completed as soon as possible after closing.