A few years ago, RealtorMag put out a list of the “Top 10 Most Common Home Inspection Problems.” They range from faulty wiring to roof problems to foundation flaws.
Whether caused by deferred maintenance or just the aging of the home, the older a home is, the more likely it is to have issues.
Most buyers of newly-built homes breathe a sigh of relief over their assumption that they’ll be escaping having to fork over large chunks of money for someone else’s problems. And, they typically decide to forego a home inspection.
Yes, new homes don’t have deferred maintenance. Yes, all the components in these homes are new. That doesn’t mean, however, that the home is without an entirely different set of problems.
And that Certificate of Occupancy issued by the local municipality only guarantees that the home is livable, not that everything is in working order.
New doesn’t equal perfect
Not everyone who works on new homes during the construction phase is a master craftsperson. Labourers and contractors have varying sets of skills and experience. While most are conscientious, others cut corners.
Additionally, most of the construction tasks, such as framing, plumbing, foundation and electrical, are subcontracted out – usually to the lowest bidder. Speed, not quality of work, is the most important consideration for the builder.
Because some problems require seasonally-unique conditions to become apparent, most builders offer their buyers a warranty. For example, water intrusion into a basement won’t be apparent until the first big rain.
Warranty terms vary, but most offer terms for different types of work. For instance, you may receive a one-year warranty for faulty labor and materials, two years for mechanical defects and ten for structural problems, according to Ilona Bray, legal editor for Nolo.com.
“The result is that the best parts of the warranty expire quickly — your carpeting, tiles, paint, and roofing, for example, may not be covered after the first year,” she said. Bray also suggests that you obtain an independent, professional home inspection before each warranty expiration date.
Since homeowner insurance typically doesn’t cover construction defects, get to know the warranty. Consult with your attorney, if you must, but ensure that you understand all aspects of it.
Whether you have a home inspection during construction (do so before the drywall goes up) or upon completion, the peace of mind it offers is worth the price.
Make sure you use a qualified Home Inspector – more details can be found on the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors: https://www.cahpi.ca/index.php?lang=en