New doesn't mean it's done right

13 Replies

I would like to encourage anyone that is getting a new home built to get an inspection done. I know this really sounds like an ad, but I also know that the majority of people aren't in the D/FW area. I have done a few new home phased inspections for clients, and it has paid off for them greatly. Find an inspector in your area, and see what they offer. I would recommend at least three phases to the inspection. First, have them check out the foundation as it is being poured. Make sure the piers are at the right spacing, rebar where it should be, post-tension cables set correctly, and slab poured to the right depth etc. With the second phase, have the inspector do a walk through of the house right before the sheetrock goes up. Once the sheetrock is up, you don't know what is behind those walls. This is your only chance. Third, have a final inspection to ensure the functionality of everything. I have seen some builders that do a great job. However, the majority that I have witnessed try to cut corners here and there. I tend to find more things wrong in a brand new home than a 50 year old one. The codes are very specific as to the way a house should be put together. I have seen rafters that have been flat against the roof, wrong size electrical wires for the load that they carry, and a number of other big items.
If you have any questions about things to look for or anything else, please let me know.

Lee Warren

Lee,

Thank you for the info. It helps me out greatly! Also, when I'm interested in investing in the Texas area I'll drop you a line for an inspector.

Bryan

P.S.- I've heard that the McAllen area is booming would you know? Thanks! :lol:

McAllen really isn't my area. I picked up a couple of properties recently in the DFW area. I live here, and I know that there are a lot of things to come long term. Example, I picked up a house in Bonham (about 60 miles northeast of Dallas) for $20,000 and it rents for $325. I know where the growth is going out here and a lot of what thing are tendered to look like for years to come, so I tend to stick around this area.

Lee Warren

Originally posted by "Inspector":
I would like to encourage anyone that is getting a new home built to get an inspection done.

Agreed..
Earlier this year I did some resale work in areas of California where the older tracks were being surrounded by newer construction. In the process, I would hear about some pretty surprising stuff, all electrical or HVAC in these cases, that were just never final checked by the builder. Stuff gets missed.

I have a new investment home I live in. The furnace is having problems(it came with the home).
I've had my HVAC person convert it to use propane. Later, he supposedly fixed a problem with "over firing". But it wasn't completely fixed. I don't want to bring him back because he may not tell me the truth about the problem(I think knowing the problem will save money). And he may get it wrong again.

I'm thinking of having an inspector look at it so I know the exact problem. Also, it's never been inspected. Is that a good way to go? Also, I need to conserve money right now.

Does anyone have advice?

An inspector is probably not going to know exactly what's wrong with your heater. I would recommend a licensed HVAC technician (otherwise known as a heating and air guy). Inspectors have general knowledge about most problems, but that doesn't mean they will know how to troubleshoot anything on a professional level. They will just tell you if it works or not.

I have a question about the accountability for inspectors. Do they all need to insured? Also, if they inspect your home and find nothing wrong is there a time frame that they are still on the hook in the event something does go wrong?

I agree a quick inspection can't hurt..Pretty much all I do is new construction most people just do a final walk through before closing.Well thats usually good for me but sometime depending on the builder it would be good if they had it inspected

AND don't neglect getting a survey done - even if the development is new! I just spent two years getting out of a NEW duplex in Bend, Oregon that was built in the wrong location on the lot.

The owner next door discovered this and errected a fence on the property line which prevented my tenents from using the garage. He held me hostage to buy his lot for 3X.

After a year in court with the developer/builder, I was able to get the entire deal rescinded. This lesson cost me a lot of lost sleep and big attorney fees.

Just for a little bit of a different perspective, I am a builder in Texas. If you are having a home built, please read your contract and your warranty materials carefully. Make sure that your expectations are in line with what the builder has agreed to do in writing.

Inspections are definitely a great idea but you'll need to talk to your builder about the fact that you'll have an inspector before you sign the contract in most cases and make sure that he agrees to the inspector. In Texas the building standards are now spelled out very specifically. If you want your builder to comply with some code other than the relevant municipal code or the TRCC (Texas Residential Construction Commission) standards, then please have that in writing before hand.

Lastly, make sure that the inspector is a good one, get references from a good construction lender or another investor. Some inexperienced inspectors will try to find things wrong that aren't really. They evidently feel that if they don't find problems then their existence isn't justified.

Also make sure that you inspector can work around your builders schedule. Waiting for an inspector to show up for a pre-pour slab inspection is a ***** when the concrete trucks are there at 4 am.

As with every service profession, the good inspectors are underpaid and the bad ones should be shot.

I agree, build a good relationship with a trusted, state licensed inspector and inspect everything before closing. No matter if your state is caveat emptor, you would rather inspect and get the stuff solved before closing, rather than skip inspection and go to court.

Originally posted by "Inspector":
I would like to encourage anyone that is getting a new home built to get an inspection done. I know this really sounds like an ad, but I also know that the majority of people aren't in the D/FW area. I have done a few new home phased inspections for clients, and it has paid off for them greatly. Find an inspector in your area, and see what they offer. I would recommend at least three phases to the inspection. First, have them check out the foundation as it is being poured. Make sure the piers are at the right spacing, rebar where it should be, post-tension cables set correctly, and slab poured to the right depth etc. With the second phase, have the inspector do a walk through of the house right before the sheetrock goes up. Once the sheetrock is up, you don't know what is behind those walls. This is your only chance. Third, have a final inspection to ensure the functionality of everything. I have seen some builders that do a great job. However, the majority that I have witnessed try to cut corners here and there. I tend to find more things wrong in a brand new home than a 50 year old one. The codes are very specific as to the way a house should be put together. I have seen rafters that have been flat against the roof, wrong size electrical wires for the load that they carry, and a number of other big items.
If you have any questions about things to look for or anything else, please let me know.

Lee Warren

As a custom builder I totally disagree with you. It might be true when it comes to large builders like KB, and others. But it is not true with Custom builders who build around 5 or so a year. They not only meet the code, but exceed it. I know many custom builders, and I have never come across one that said he cut some corner here or there. As for the inspection, the city sends out inspector to check every phase, excavation, foundation, framing, rough electrical, rough plumbing, rough HVAC, insulation, then when you are done, you have to call inspector again to inspect final electrical, plumbing, HVAC. When all passed then you have to call for final inspection, which is Certification of Occupancy. Not to mention if you got construction loan, then the Bank sends out its own inspector on each phase. The point is you got the custom builder on top of contractor and inspectors. I know one large builder who has it as part of their agreement that they will NOT allow inspector to inspect. Their reason is that you have one year warranty, so there is no need for an inspector. You need a lawyer to translate their warranty.

P.s. “I was at my jobsite every single day, and inspected very carefully.”

As a custom builder I totally disagree with you. It might be true when it comes to large builders like KB, and others. But it is not true with Custom builders who build around 5 or so a year. They not only meet the code, but exceed it. I know many custom builders, and I have never come across one that said he cut some corner here or there. As for the inspection, the city sends out inspector to check every phase, excavation, foundation, framing, rough electrical, rough plumbing, rough HVAC, insulation, then when you are done, you have to call inspector again to inspect final electrical, plumbing, HVAC. When all passed then you have to call for final inspection, which is Certification of Occupancy. Not to mention if you got construction loan, then the Bank sends out its own inspector on each phase. The point is you got the custom builder on top of contractor and inspectors. I know one large builder who has it as part of their agreement that they will NOT allow inspector to inspect. Their reason is that you have one year warranty, so there is no need for an inspector. You need a lawyer to translate their warranty.

P.s. “I was at my jobsite every single day, and inspected very carefully.”

I disagree with this post 100%. I think anyone would be Foolish to not get an inspection.
I work with many builders in many states, including TX and none of them are big outfits like KB, etc. I only use reputable and competant builders who are licensed and insured. No matter how good they are and how much attention to detail they pay, there are always some issues, although minor in nature most of the time. For example, an interior door that would not close properly (alignment was off), dent in a door know, etc. etc. etc.

Never buy any property with improvements without an inspection. Any seller claiming

I know one large builder who has it as part of their agreement that they will NOT allow inspector to inspect. Their reason is that you have one year warranty, so there is no need for an inspector.

Run as fast as you can. They must be hiding something. If I was a builder and was confident in my product, I would tell my buyer to bring whoever and as many inspectors as they felt necessary. It is no skin off my back!

I agree, build a good relationship with a trusted, state licensed inspector and inspect everything before closing. No matter if your state is caveat emptor.