Why Do I Need A New Home Inspection?
Fact: 3rd Party Builder Inspectors make about $60 to $100 and are on-site for 30 minutes or less on most new home inspections. If they nitpick too much they don’t get more work from the builder. They work off of a check-list. These inspectors are unlicensed and very rarely have a code certification.
Fact: City Building Inspectors are often over-worked. They may be on-site for 5 to 15 minutes at most unless something major is wrong. They have between 1 and 5 years to be code certified as well.
Builder Sales Guy: We do a new home inspection with our 3rd party inspector and the city inspector. We can handle any issues at the final walk through 30 minutes before closing.
Thoughts On A New Home Inspection
One builder told me that 80% of their buyers don’t bother to get a home inspection. Wow. Yes, it’s true the builder has a quality control inspector. And yes, the City has inspected the home. Neither of those are good reasons to forgo your own inspection.
There are a few folks who inspect a house. There is a quality control inspector who is there to make sure the trade did the work they will be paid for and it’s passable. They have a check list provided by the builder they are working for. His primary focus in life is making sure the contractor has not done anything exceptionally stupid.
There may also be a draw inspector who is there for a few minutes to see what was done. He reports to the lender or bank and if the work is “done” the builder gets paid. Then there is the City or County building inspector. These folks are over-worked, under-paid most of the time and if they are lucky they can be there for 5 minutes.
The photo to the left was taken at a phase inspection. A City Inspector signed off on this. A “quality control” inspector also signed off on it. It’s in the middle of the kitchen and clearly wrong. Per IRC 3905.3.1 Type NM (non-Metallic) cable sheathing shall extend a minimum of 1/4 ” inside the box. There is probably 3 to 4 inches of sheathing missing. Whoops. Sheetrock fixes (hides) problems and I’m sure if less sheetrock had been installed I would have found more issues at this home.
New Home Inspection When The House Is Finished
The builder’s quality control inspector and superintendent are usually managing multiple homes at the same time, bouncing between production meetings, and dealing with a phone that rings non-stop with calls from everyone to sales agents, to vendors, to contractors having problems. The builder’s number one focus in life is getting houses finished on-time (or early) and getting them closed.
The sink at the right was on a brand new house. City Inspector was here as well. This house was ready to close and had it’s final inspection from the City. The City inspector did not run the sink or dishwasher long enough to realize something was wrong. He doesn’t have time for that. I do. I take my time doing your new home inspection. I try to find everything that is not right.
Most builders do a pretty good job. I’m there to help them do the best possible job.
New Home Inspection Before The Home Is Complete
This is the best time to get me involved. The earlier the better. You should build into your contract the right to have a third party inspector inspect the home at specific points in the construction process. You should ask for the right to stop work if the builder has code violations. Otherwise they will “fix” the problem with concrete or sheetrock.
A new home inspection while the house is under construction is called a phase inspection.