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Should You Have a Professional Inspection when Buying a Brand New Home from a Builder?

Often when I sell a New Home... when the buyers and I get around to doing their "pre-closing walk-thru" with the Builder, my buyers sometimes ask me whether or not they should first get their home inspected by a Professional Home Inspector.

Of course, that should always be the buyer's choice to make.  And I would always encourage buyers to do what they felt they needed to do to insure in their mind that they were getting a quality-built home.

Sometimes, though, the buyers are extremely tight on cash.  The $350 or so that the typical home inspector may charge can be a real hardship on them.  So, what should they do ?

Well, as usual, the answer is "it depends."  Sometimes the buyers DO get the home inspected by an outside inspector before they do their "walk thru" with the builder.  I have found that their choice sometimes depends on how things have gone with that particular builder along the way during the overall construction of the home from start to finish... and the impression the buyers have gotten when they periodically walked thru the home on their own as the home is being constructed.

If the individual builder actually "building" the home has kept in contact with the buyers, and has shown both a willingness to communicate, and a track record of actually responding to their concerns, the buyers may be less inclined to have the home inspected prior to their builder walk-thru.

Sometimes, especially when cash is an issue, and the home looks "tight," the buyers delay a professional inspection until perhaps the tenth month of ownership... so their home gets a thorough, point-by-point inspection sufficiently in advance of the expiration of the typical builder's one-year "blanket" warranty.

What the buyers choose to do may also depend on what the home looks like when they meet with the builder for their "walk-thru."  If there are still tradespeople working in the home during the walk-thru, if the appliances are still being installed, if the home looks messy because the cleaning crew didn't show up, the buyers can quickly lose confidence... and their suspicions build.

I know of one new home "production builder" who adamantly insists that their salespeople do NOT use the words "buyer walk-thru" but "buyer presentation" for the before-closing meeting of the buyers with their builder.  The reason for that is that this particular builder will not... absolutely not have the builder invite the buyer to the home until every last item on the builder's "punch list" has been taken care of.  This particular home builder is fervently religious about this.  With that in mind, what the buyer has always thought was called a "walk-thru" actually IS a "buyer presentation" with this builder.  The home is finished, it is "tight," and that breeds confidence.

Usually when that is the case, the buyers often elect to save their Professional Inspection Dollars to be spent sixty days before the expiration of the builder's standard one-year warranty.

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More New Home Information is available at www.NewHomeHuntersOfTarrantCounty.com .  Karen Anne Stone, your New Home Expert, can be reached at (817) 929-3400, or emailed at KarenAnneStone@gmail.com

Comment balloon 14 commentsKaren Anne Stone • September 04 2007 03:15PM

Comments

Hi Karen. I always recommend that my buyers get an independent inspection if they have any concerns. Case in point - a friend of mine considered it, but she didn't trust her instincts. Now, she's stuck with tons of repair bills and she's only been in the house for little over a month!
Posted by Ilyce N. Powell, CMPS- Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist (Financial Revitalize) over 11 years ago
Ilyce:  It sounds like your buyer bought an existing home rather than a brand new one with a full one year bumper to bumper warranty.  Yes... is all instances when a buyer is purchasing a resale, I definitely recommend a Professional Home Inspection.  Karen Anne
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago
Karen Anne - I recommend they have it done, but also remind them that it comes with a full 1-year warranty for just about "anything!"  I've only had one buyer do it before...
Posted by Susie Roscoe, Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL (Signature Realty Associates) over 11 years ago
I recommend it ALL the time. Then the buyers become surprise how much were caught during the inspection. It is almost always "after-the-fact" that they are glad that they do it.
Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 11 years ago
Karen - I've found that punch list within the 12 month period is a LOT harder to get done to my buyers' satisfaction than it would if my buyer could ask for it ahead of time.  I'm looking at this strictly from a consumer's perspective.  If a builder won't allow a pre-drywall and pre-closing inspection AND a final walk-thru, I tell them it may not be worth the trouble.  I've seen horrible things happen to my buyers and the "repairs" are never done on a timely basis, if they are done at all.  Of course, that's been my experience with most production builders in our area.  There are several semi-custom builders who will honor these requests and I've never had a problem with them...ever!
Posted by Irene Morales Ward, Realtor - e-Pro - Northern Virginia Real Estate (REMAX Distinctive Real Estate, Inc.) over 11 years ago
I always suggest a home inspection on new construction and have been suprised more than once by what the inspector found.
Posted by Danny Baize (Prudential Indiana Realty Group) over 11 years ago
"Buyer Presentation" it is then, why not? That was a fun blog posting, Lance
Posted by Lance Winslow (The Car Wash Guy) almost 11 years ago
Hi Susie:  I think having a professional inspection in many respects may depend on the builder's reputation.  Some think that waiting until three months before the warranty is to expire is also a good idea.  Thanks for commenting.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago
Hi Loreena:   I am glad that having the inspection done before closing has worked well for both you and your buyers.  Thanks for commenting.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago
Hi Irene:  I am sure a lot can depend on the builder's local reputation.  How well the Realtor knows the builder can also have a bearing.  It is very true that with some "production" builders that getting anything done after the home has closed and funded can be difficult.  There have been times when I have had to get involved, and because I sell so many new homes, once I contact the builder, things usually get done.  But... that should not be necessary.  Thanks for commenting.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago
Hi Danny:  I am glad that a pre-closing inspection has worked well for both you and your buyers.  It is a great feeling for them to know that everything is done before the builder gets their money.  Take care.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago
Hi Mike:  Many times even though a builder gives a warranty, depending on the builder's track record at fixing items after closing, a pre-inspection can be a great idea.  Thanks for commenting.  Take care.
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago
Hi Lance:  Lennar Homes insists that their new home consultants call it a "presentation"... and in Lennar's case, at least locally in Fort Worth, it really is a "presentation."  Lennar has a great reputation for the home being fully finished and sparkling when the buyer finally goes through it before closing.  Thanksfor your kind words.  Take care...
Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 11 years ago

Absolutely! You should have any home that you purchase inspected! And a brand new home should be inspected throughout the buiding process!!

Posted by Joni Bailey, Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR® (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties) about 5 years ago

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