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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

A guide to the 1 year inspection and investing in a newly built home

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When buying a newly constructed home, the luxury of brand new appliances, flooring, carpeting and other feature is a great bonus. However, that doesn't make getting a home inspection unnecessary.

Always hire a professional to check out the condition of your home prior to signing an agreement to purchase a property. In addition to having a home inspector check out your home, you likely will also get a 1 year anniversary inspection. Taking advantage of all evaluations is beneficial for you as a buyer. 

Have an initial inspection 
According to Bankrate, a common mistake committed by buyers is not having an inspection. In some instances major issues may be discovered when a professional comes through and evaluates the condition of the home and appliances. 

Bankrate noted an instance where a new home's deck was compromised to create space for heating ducts. 

"I had visions in my mind of a housewarming party, with 20 people on the deck having beer, and the deck just going," said Trevor Welby-Solomon, owner of the home and current vice president of training and technical support for Pillar to Post.

Know when inspections typically take place 
New houses are inspected a few different times while being built. This does not mean you can forego the inspection, but knowing the process can help you understand the type of home you are investing in and what elements were evaluated for safety and quality. 

These are some of the times when an inspection may occur:

  • During the construction of the home 
  • After the house is built and completed 
  • Before a buyer moves into the house 
  • About 10 or 11 months after the buyer purchases the property 

The 10 or 11 month inspection occurs at this time because builders and contractors likely still have warranties. Some repairs found by the home inspector can still be repaired under warranty. 

"The best time with a custom home is when it's dried in and all the walls are up and the electrical is in, prior to Sheetrocking the house," Holmes says. "Then you can see if you have your outlets and light fixtures in the right place."

Home Builders and Remodelers of Mohawk Valley indicated buyers will often do a walk-through of the home to share information regarding the home's condition and the warranty available. During this time, you will also likely learn about required maintenance of the home and upkeep responsibilities. 

It is important to take notes during this walk-through to ensure you have a clear understanding of any warranty information, upkeep requirements and questions you may have regarding the integrity of the home and its structure. When you have a home inspector come through and evaluate the house you can have him or her address these questions. 

Also, consider asking the builder or contractor if he or she will be available to come through again before the 1-year anniversary of you purchasing the house to help evaluate the settling condition of the home. This can help you determine whether he or she is confident in ensuring you are happy with the home and its future stability. 

Don't be afraid to ask any questions. You want to learn as much as you can during the walk-through process because this is such a substantial investment.  

Importance of a home inspection after a year 
Having an inspection completed before the expiration of a warranty is particularly important. It is always worthwhile to have someone take a look at the property and ensure everything is working well and free of issues before its too late to take advantage of the warranty in place. 

While you should always hire a professional after a year, you may want to do a walk-around yourself to avoid any surprises when the inspector comes to evaluate your home. This Old House recommended taking a general look at the following components: 

  • Electrical 
  • Plumbing 
  • Doors and windows 
  • Utilities 

You will likely have a decent idea whether there are problems arising with these elements of your home. Take notes and write down any questions you may have that you can present to your home inspector when he or she arrives. 

In addition, you can look for cracks in the foundation of your home and the driveway or sidewalks. These are easy issues you can quickly identify. 

Finding a quality home inspector 
While a builder or contractor may supply recommendations for a company, do a little research yourself to find the perfect professional. Ask friends and family if they have any suggestions for professionals they have had positive experiences with. This can help you decide on a company that will meet your needs at a fair price. 

Also ask to follow the inspector along during the home inspection so you have a clearer understanding of any issues that may be present.