In my opinion, you should almost always get a home inspection. If you are buying a tear-down, you may not want to have the property inspection, but aside from that one instance where you may not want to get an inspection, you should always have your home inspected by a licensed professional. When you are building a new home or a buying a brand new home, it’s also a prudent choice to have it inspected by a third party inspector.
Often times builders will have their own inspections, and the city will require various inspections for major components such as plumbing and electrical too. However, you should also hire your own independent third party inspector. This individual will work for you! They are looking out for your best interest, and in addition to pointing out any areas of concern that may need to be rectified, they will also teach you how to maintain your home moving forward.
There are four main opportunities for an inspection on a new construction home. The first inspection is a pre-pour foundation inspection. During this inspection, an inspector will assess the engineering of the foundation. During this inspection, the depth of the footings, post-tension cables and other integral parts of the homes foundation will be assessed. In central Texas with the varying soil conditions, it’s a good idea to ensure your home’s foundation is properly built to last.
The second opportunity for an inspection on a new construction home is the pre-drywall inspection. As you may have guessed, this inspection occurs before the sheetrock is installed. This inspection allows the inspector to see all of the integral components of your home before they are hidden behind drywall. The home is fully framed and your plumbing, electrical and HVAC is usually all fully installed and visible. It’s common for inspectors to find minor oversights at this stage, and it’s easy for the builder to correct these issues at this stage. This inspection also allows you to see all of the framing of your home, and plan accordingly for things such as TV mounting and avoiding drilling a hole into your main water line.
The last opportunity for an inspection on your new home before you officially close occurs when the home is complete. This inspection usually occurs a week or so before the closing. During this inspection, all utilities should be on, and the inspector will be able to assess the functionality of appliances, outlets, sprinkler systems etc. This is also the time to look for minor cosmetic items such as opportunities for paint and drywall touch up.
One Year InspectioN
After you move into your home, theres one more opportunity for a home inspection. Most new construction homes come with a builder warranty. The builder warranty will cover various aspects of the home, and it will cover some systems for longer than others. Commonly you will see what is referred to as a 1 - 2 - 10 warranty. The “1” refers to the one year builder warranty on workmanship. The “2” usually means the 2 year warranty on electrical, plumbing and HVAC, and the “10” is in reference to the 10 year structural warranty. Thus, it’s a good idea to have a third party inspection performed shortly before the 1 year builder warranty expires. After living in your home for around 10-11 months you should schedule this inspection. Then you can provide a copy of the inspection report to your builder and have all of your maintenance items addressed prior to the lapse of that warranty.
Inspections provide peace of mind, and oftentimes save you money in the long run by eliminating the need for you to pay for costly repairs. You may not feel the need to utilize all four of these inspections; however, it is up to you to make that decision and I hope this article helps you understand the options available to you. If you have general questions about buying a new construction home in the greater Austin area, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.