New Homes: Good Enough at First Glance?

By now we’re sure you’ve been told by your agent, family members, friends, and strangers on the street to make sure you get a home inspection before purchasing a home. This is solid advice. Despite the additional cost, a home inspection is just common sense. They reduce the risk on one of the biggest investment you’re ever going to make, assist in making an informed decision, confirm a good investment, and offer guidance for routine home maintenance over time. What could possibly be holding you back from getting one?? The answer is “nothing”, if you’re purchasing a home for re-sale. After all, other people have lived in this particular home, and who knows what kind of havoc they caused?

But what if you’re buying a brand new home?

New homes are becoming more common in the Bay Area as there has been a great deal of construction over the past few years. So even if it’s new and shiny, is it still worthwhile to have a home inspection?

The answer is a resounding “yes”! And here’s why:

1. Sparkling on the Outside, Problematic on the Inside

Firstly, new homes are just that: new. They’ve yet to be lived in and therefore their quality is untested and unknown. They just don’t have the track record of a re-sale home. Imagine stepping into a newly finished home. The recently laid hardwood floor glistens from a lack of downtrodden footprints. Upstairs, the carpet in the master bedroom is fluffed to perfection while the walls glow an angelic white, untouched by the accidental crayon wall drawing or shoe scuff.

Sound pretty wonderful?

This is what you might see at first glance. However, after having a home inspection, you might be saddened to find out that you won’t be getting any air conditioning or heating in your new master suite because the air ventilation system has a glitch. It’s better to be safe than sorry and find out what’s going on under the exterior of your potential new home.

2. The Work of a Master Builder?

This one is straightforward: a home inspection ensures that the workmanship and materials used to build the home are up to code. That way you’ll know for sure that you and your family are living in a good quality home and there are no defects. The inspection will also pick up on details like unstable soil conditions that might lead to future problems. Some properties in the neighborhood of Sharon Heights in Menlo Park for example, have had to deal with soil erosion complications whilst building new homes.


3. Construction Criticism

leaky_faucetEven if the construction company is a reputable one, mistakes happen. There might be a crooked wall or the possibility of leaks if the pipes are not laid correctly. A home inspection spots these potential problems and saves you the grief of dealing
with them later after you’ve already settled in.

4. Even with a Warranty

One of the benefits of a new home is that it comes with a warranty. In California new homes have a 10-year warranty by law, however, some defects may have a shorter time limit of one to two years. In fact, some homeowners choose to have another inspection before their warranty expires to fix any issues that might be budding.

Ideally, the best time to inspect a new home is when all the walls are up and the electrical, plumbing, and heating are complete. You can also have another inspection once construction is completely finished or once you’ve made an offer. From a buyer’s perspective, this is a strategic move as it can reduce further risk and help with negotiations- especially if your offer is conditional to the outcome of the home inspection.

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