Home inspection best opportunity to know a house

It’s not as magical a process as that by which a fertilized egg becomes a human being, but the evolution of a bare mound of dirt into a brand-new home is something to be admired. Once the lot is ready to build, it may take from about 90 to 180 days to complete your new home.

Is a pre purchase home inspection by a professional home inspector necessary when city or county inspections are being performed during the building process? The answer is “yes.”

City and county inspectors check the construction to ensure the builder is complying with the local building code. They are not checking for quality. A professional home inspector who you hire is looking out for your interests.

Unless a new home is completed and is for sale as an inventory home, builders do not accept contracts with contingencies pertaining to home inspections. A builder is not going to build a new home for you and allow you to cancel the contract. Most builders do not mind you bringing a professional home inspector to accompany you on your pre-settlement inspections. Some builders work with buyers scheduling several inspections during the construction process.

As a buyer, you may add to your offer a provision allowing you at least three inspections before settlement with a professional home inspector. Your inspector will especially want to check the property right after the foundation is poured, just before your home is dry-walled, and a couple of days before settlement. These inspections cost between $175 and $500, depending on the size and price of your home. When hiring a home inspector, you may want to negotiate with him or her on a package of three inspections.

These inspections are not cheap, but an experienced inspector can discern the hidden flaws that sometimes graduate into catastrophes. At least these professional home inspectors can help you identify deficiencies on your pre-settlement walk-through.

Don’t forget your builder’s warranty. Bring that along on your walk-through. The standards and deficiencies described in your warranty will help the home inspector. Good luck.

Having been in the home building business for almost two decades, I know one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Who builds a quality home?”

Quality is the marketing buzzword of the 2000s for many industries, including home building. But just what is a quality home? Will a home inspector be able to make a difference in the quality of the home that will be delivered to the end user? My answer to the quality question is it all comes down to the construction superintendent. This on-site person sets the standard for the level of construction for your home. A home inspector scrutinizes the end product, but it’s what is behind the walls that makes the difference in the performance of your home.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t buy a “used home” without a home inspector. I want a professional to tell me if an expensive item like a furnace or roof is in good condition, or if I may need a replacement in the near future. However, in most new homes major items such as these are under warranty by the builder and the manufacturer. You should take the time to review and understand these warranties before you contract for your home. In particular, find out who will handle the warranty work: the builder, the supplier or the manufacturer, and for what time period?

The on-site manager inspects your home throughout all levels of construction. Many construction superintendents today have degrees in construction management. Find out the qualifications of the person building your home. Top companies have preconstruction meetings with customers to review plans and options to be built in their home. Do you have a level of confidence in the person that will be supervising the construction of one of your biggest investments?

Home inspectors perform a tremendous service, but the inspection is performed after your home is built. Usually, these inspections happen the day or several days before you’re ready to move in, many times with the moving van in the driveway. The inspector’s job is to find mistakes. It’s easier on everyone to be sure these mistakes don’t happen in the first place.

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