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Should I Get A Home Inspection On My Brand New Home?

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.

No gutters on this new home
Soil erosion caused by lack of gutters

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.

Stucco cracking on a new home

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.

No screens on new home
No screens on new home

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.

Open electrical box on a new home
Open electrical box on a new home

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.

Auto-closing hinges are not working

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.

Loose fixtures at shower in new house
Faucet not working

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.

Reasons to Get a Home Inspection (#1)

Can You Do Your Own Home Inspection?

The simple answer… yes you can. But, we don’t recommend it, and your real estate broker or other professional most likely won’t either.

In the weeks to come, let’s go over the reasons why it really is a good idea to have your home inspected by a trained and licensed professional. The reasons I am listing are not necessarily in order of importance, so please don’t think one is more crucial than another. This list is just to give you an idea of what home inspectors do and the real value they can provide you with.

#1 Home Inspectors Can See Problems You Can’t

The majority of home inspectors (with a few exceptions based on safety) will walk your roof, traverse through the attic and if you have an older home, army-crawl through the space underneath the home known as the crawlspace (yes I said army-crawl). Most home owners or home buyers are not willing to or even know how to enter and get through these spaces properly and safely. Home Inspectors are trained to do these things and do them on a daily basis. Many do this multiple times a day. Don’t worry about getting muddy and dirty in confined spaces or risk your safety walking your roof. Just let the home inspector do it for you, that’s what they’re paid for!

The other thing to consider when contemplating inspecting your own home, is that there may be issues that you can see wide out in the open that don’t require you to enter any confined spaces, but you may not know they are issues. Home Inspectors are trained and have a lot of experience “seeing” things that others can’t or don’t. Many people don’t know that certain conditions inside an electrical panel or forced air furnace can be serious safety hazards. Usually these conditions are not obvious the the casual observer.

Stay safe. Hire a home inspector!

Should my House in Florida have gutters?

Do I Really Need Gutters?

We get asked this question on home inspections all the time. The simple answer is… yes you really should have gutters.

You would think with all the flooding rains we get in Central Florida, that gutters would be commonplace. However, a huge portion of homes still have little to no guttering. The fact that Florida has a sandy soil and most moisture is absorbed quickly without homeowners seeing the ponding may be the reason for this. Or, it may be that builders are trying to save on costs and decided that gutters are not important. Whatever the case may be, we always recommend having gutters installed and maintained at all lower eaves of your home.

No gutters on Central Florida home. (Pretty common)

Let’s say you have good grading and plenty of slope around your home. Should you still have gutters?

As with any other system in your home, the real problems are usually the ones you CAN’T see. In Florida we have a very sandy soil. This allows it to absorb a lot of moisture. However, it is also very easily eroded. Erosion underneath your home can cause all kinds of costly issues from foundation settlement to structural failure. Properly installed gutters with downspouts and extensions will carry the bulk of the storm water away from the home and prevent long term erosion.

Another benefit to gutters is, because the storm water is being carried away to downspouts, it keeps everyone from getting rainwater dumped directly off the roof onto them as they walk in the home. It also keeps flower beds and shrubs from getting washed out.

One thing that people don’t typically think about when it comes to gutters is that without them, rainwater will tend to run down the side of the fascia (eaves) and also down the side of the home. This in turn can cause moisture intrusion into the wall, which can lead to rot and mold. Think of it like a cup that has a loose lid. When the cup is tipped, the liquid runs down the side and gets everywhere!

We all know that water follows the path of least resistance. Properly installed gutters with downspouts and extensions provide a perfect path for storm water and ultimately will help maintain your home for years to come!

Illustration of importance of gutters

How to “pass” a Home Inspection?!

It is an exciting time in your life! You just put an offer on the home of your dreams and the offer is accepted! Now you need to choose a home inspector to inspect your new home and make sure the home of your dreams is in tip top shape! However, what if your inspection fails and you must continue your search? We wouldn’t want that. So, we have a little secret for you!

Your home cannot fail an inspection or pass one. There is no pass or fail in home inspections. A home inspection is simply to let you as a new homeowner know what condition the home is in before you sign those contracts. A home inspection is preformed by a highly trained professional, who will offer his/her opinion in a report on the major systems of your home. These major systems include but are not limited to roof, foundation, HVAC systems, and electrical. Your home inspector’s main concern is to make sure the home is safe for you and your family and that all the systems in the home are functioning correctly and safely!

There is no pass or fail!

Your home inspection is not a guarantee that all those systems will work forever. It is a picture, a moment in time that lets you know it is working today or it is not. The home inspection report gives you the knowledge you need moving forward so you aren’t walking into your new home blind.

The home inspection is also a great tool for your real estate agent in the negotiations that allows them to help you decide what things are the most important to fix before signing the contracts and moving into your home.

Getting a home inspection isn’t scary and you shouldn’t worry. You are taking that step to understand your home better and walking into your dream home with understanding and the tools you need to move forward! We are here and happy to help. If you have any questions contact a home inspector they will be happy to answer your questions regarding the home inspection process. You can also comment below with questions and I am happy to answer them!

Thank you for reading!

What is a Home Inspection? What to expect.

Congratulations you have put an offer on the home of your dreams! Now you need to get a home inspection. What does that entail and why do you need a home inspection before buying your home? I’m so glad you asked! A home inspection is the first step in negotiating to get the best of your new home as possible. Your awesome real estate agent will be there to assist you and will use the home inspection reports findings to know how to proceed. A home inspection will also help you know more about your new home and give you a clear picture of the condition of your home. Giving you peace of mind to navigate this home buying like a boss!

What does a home inspection look like?

You can view a sample report on most home inspectors’ websites.

What is inspected?

  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Attic
  • Window and Doors
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system
  • HVAC systems
  • Fireplace
  • Crawlspace or Basement(if one is present)

What is not inspected in a normal home inspection? The following are a few things:

  • Courtyard walls
  • Inside walls
  • Landscaping
  • Play equipment
  • Fountains
  • Irrigation systems
  • Mold
  • Radon
  • Sewer lines
  • Pools/spas
  • Termites

Add on services?

Some home inspectors will charge an extra fee for these items if they include them as part of their services.

  • Mold inspection
  • Radon testing
  • Termite inspection
  • Sewer line inspection
  • Four point inspection
  • Wind meditation
  • Pool/spa inspection
  • Irrigation system inspection

Do I need a home inspection? What is its purpose?

You’ve taken the first step and are doing your research. Let’s be honest buying a home is a big decision and we want you to walk in with your eyes open and the lights on! Home inspectors are there to help you do just that. You have a team of professionals and the home inspector is an important member of that team! It is the inspectors job to help you understand your home. That way you can make the decisions based on what they find. Home inspectors are sometimes put into the negative light because they let you, the home buyer know the defective items or items that need maintenance. That is a good thing! They are there to make sure you have peace of mind walking into your new home. No home is perfect but, your home inspector helps you know how to handle those situations and which professionals can help you along the way!

How much does a home inspection cost?

If you do a quick search on the internet it will tell you it is between $350-$400 for a home inspection. This can be misleading as most home inspections may be more depending on the homes age, size and if you need add on inspections such as mold or wind mitigation. Calling home inspection companies and getting quotes is the best way to find out what they offer and what inspection types they perform.

You can’t put a price on yours and your family’s safety.

How long will the inspection take?

A home inspection takes 2.5-3 hours depending on the home. It could be longer when adding other inspection types or if it is an older or larger home. Your inspector will be going through the home inspecting all the accessible and available systems in the home. They will be taking pictures and reporting on their findings. Once the inspection is completed the inspector will give a review of their findings and then will email the full report.

Conclusion:

A home inspector is a highly trained professional and will give you his expert advice on the condition of the home at time of inspection. Their reports will help you decide what to ask your realtor to negotiate and how to move forward in the transaction.