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Home Inspections: Are They Good for Both ReSale AND New Home Purchases ?

Just about all real estate agents recommend to their buyers that when they purchase a "resale" home... like the one picture here, that they have it professionally inspected.

Great idea !  And just about every agent, and every set of buyers, agrees.  Even when the resale home your buyers purchase is just an absolute gem of a house... there may be things about that home that need attention, that even the seller might not be aware of.  So obviously, and inspection should be done.

But what about having a brand new builder's home inspected ?  Every once in awhile I see a blog post on Active Rain discussing whether or not a Realtor should recommend that a buyer have an outside independent inspection done on a new home that they are purchasing.

Usually when a post like that is done, the comments often follow one of two paths.  The first one says that absolutely yes... an outside inspection should be done.  You can never be too careful.

The other "camp" often holds the opinion that it is a NEW home... and that there really isn't going to be anything wrong with it.  They say having an inspection done on a new home is a waste of money. 

They go on to say that the builder will have a "walk thru" before closing on the home, and that anything that is found by the buyer during that walk thru will be fixed by the builder.

Of course, we all have seen varying types of new home builders as far as their expertise is concerned.  I have sold, over a period of thirty years... both as a Realtor, and as a new home builder salesperson... literally hundreds of new homes.

During the builder's walk-thru I mentioned, I have seen so many things happen both during construction, and at and after the walk-thru.  I could name specific builders, which I will not do, where when going to the walk-thru we found anywhere from an absolutely spotless home, with everything done (as far as we could see) and the home was totally ready to move in to, both inside and out... on one end of the spectrum. 

I have also gone to some "final" walk-thru's where the buyers and I found anywhere from a few... to over a dozen or so construction personnel and tradespeople still working on the home.  Even on the day of closing.  Just amazing.

So... what do I recommend with all that experience ?

Not only would I recommend to my buyers that they should have their new home professionally inspected in addition to the builder's inspections, and the city's code compliance inspections, and to do so BEFORE closing... I would also take this one step further.

All of the builders I know guarantee everything for one year, and request that the buyer submit at least two "punch lists" during the first year... one after sixty days, and one after ten months... just before the first year warranty expires. 

What I suggest to my buyers is that, in addition to the professional inspection they had before closing... that around the tenth month of their first year... before that first year of the warranty expires... that they have their home inspected again... and use that information, plus what they themselves have found, put it all together, and submit THAT for their final "punch list" that is allowed and requested by most builders during the first year guarantee period.

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Comment balloon 16 commentsKaren Anne Stone • September 10 2010 09:22PM
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