Having your home inspected by a professional, licensed home inspector is a very important step when buying a home. This still holds true if the home is brand new and no one else has ever lived in it before.
I worked as a contractor and carpenter for an independent home builder for many years before becoming a home inspector. When a home is being built, there are a lot of moving parts. There are dozens of different contractors working together to build the home. From the foundation to the framing, and from the electrical to the plumbing. There are typically different contractors or specialists building or installing the systems and components that pertain to their area of expertise. What happens when all these different specialists are all working at the same time is that sometimes, things get overlooked or just forgotten. Remember, a home is a very complex system.
Many times, the general contractor, the one in charge of making sure everyone does their jobs properly and at the right time, will make what is called a “punch-list”. This is a list of items or projects that need to be completed before the home is finished. Unfortunately, all the things on the list don’t always get done before the home goes on the market.
I recently inspected a brand new home and found several things of interest that would definitely benefit a buyer to know before buying the home. Let me show you what I found.
First, I found that as with many Florida homes, there were no gutters on the lower eaves of the home. Gutters carry storm water away from the home and prevent soil erosion and foundation settlement. To read more about gutters click here.
After that, I found some stucco cracking under the windows. The cracking was still pretty small, but was beginning to spread just behind a sprinkler head. These heads are notorious for getting broken or twisted so they point backwards. With the stucco beginning to crack behind the sprinkler head, it was only a matter of time before water got inside the wall.
While I was inspecting the exterior, I noticed that none of the windows had screens. This can be fairly common on new homes. Sometimes the screens are stored in the garage or in a shed. Nevertheless, it’s always important to know if they are present and accounted for. I was not able to find any screens on the property.
Around the back of the home on the underside of the eaves, I found two open electrical boxes. I assume these were in place for light fixtures, or maybe even power for cameras. But, in the current state, the open boxes could be a safety hazard or could just become damaged due to weather.
When I was inspecting the garage, I found that the fire-rated service door from the garage to the home was equipped with auto-closing hinges. However, the hinges were not working properly and the door just stayed open when swung. The auto-closing hinges keep the fire wall in place between the home and garage in case there is ever a fire in the garage.
Last I inspected the bathrooms and found that the hallway bathroom fixtures were very loose and poorly secured at the shower wall. I also found that one of the faucets in the master bathroom was not functioning at all.
Overall, home inspectors do typically find much less deficiencies in new homes over older homes. But, you never know what the situation may be. I once found a serious structural defect in a brand new home.
In closing, even if the home is brand new and no one has ever lived in it before, you definitely should still have the home inspected by a professional and licensed home inspector. You are making a huge investment. You want to know what you are buying.