New Construction – Is a Home Inspection Really Necessary?

Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

New Construction HouseWhen buying a new home in Massachusetts you need to be aware that, just because a home is new, it is not necessarily fault free.   

Not only can you greatly benefit from an inspection on your newly constructed home but it is something that you should insist on.  All new construction should be inspected to ensure that your home is being built with the quality that you are expecting it to be.  

Builders will often point to the fact that the town will be requiring a number of inspections at different stages of the construction process and certainly prior to an issue of a certificate of occupancy.  They may also cite these inspections as reasons why an independent inspection is unnecessary.  

While it is true that town inspections will be done, these inspectors focus primarily on code violations - not the quality of the contractor's work.  A professional home inspector will scrutinize the workmanship that is going into the construction and will uncover potential defects in the process. 

A relocation client of mine who was having a new home constructed initially disagreed with my advice to have an inspection done several weeks prior to the closing.  I finally won out and attended the home inspection in my client's absence.  This particular home had a finished basement that had been nearly completed.  

During the course of the inspection, it was discovered that there had been a substantial flood in the basement and all of the finish work had been submerged for a period of time.  Detecting the moisture, the inspector revealed the problem.  It appeared as though the builder was hoping that all would be dry by the time of the final walk-through.  

That may, in fact, have been the outcome if the inspection had not been done and could have resulted in a serious mold or rotting situation at a later time.  

As a result of the inspector's discovery, the builder was forced to rip out all of the finish work in the basement including the sheet rock and build it back from scratch.  And, my client was saved from a potentially bad outcome. 

This episode is one of many that make a solid case for the fact that a professional home inspection is a necessary part of any home purchase, including new construction.  It also demonstrates the need for a professional buyer broker to oversee the entire process.  If left to their own initiative, my clients would have certainly suffered some serious damage at some point in the future.  

Having a new home built is an exciting and rewarding undertaking.  Don't have the excitement ruined by not taking the property precautions.  Protect your investment with a professional home inspection.  It's the extra step that is worth taking.  

 Copyright 2009 - Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, TheBuyersCounsel - 800-392-1446  - E-mail    

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Comments (19)

Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Claudette~  It amazes me how many buyers think just because a home is brand new that they do not need a home inspection. EVERY home should be inspected, none are immune. 

Oct 03, 2009 04:07 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


They often mistake the fact that there is a warranty to preclude the need for an inspection.  When, we both know that by that time, they could have a serious problem that could have been avoided.



Oct 03, 2009 04:13 PM
Paul Durry
National Mortgage Field Services - Lawton, OK
Former Broker Associate, CDPE, CIAS, CHMS

I have gotten plenty of builders mad at me for telling buyers to get a thorough home inspection. They often say they will not abide or take care of faults found during the inspection. Here home inspectors are licensed by the state. Buyers should absolutely get a home inspection on new construction!

Oct 03, 2009 04:56 PM
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

I always get at least an inspector to inspect a home at pre foundation; pre-sheetrock and upon completion.  I leave the option open to hire an engineer's inspection which is considerable more and much more thorough, but well worth the money. 

Sell on......

Oct 03, 2009 05:09 PM
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Claudette... so often, new home buyers seem willing to trust that the builder has done everything correctly... this is a serious error in judgement for such a significant investment.  A home inspection, on ANY home, is a prudent investment!

Oct 03, 2009 05:47 PM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

I've heard a few stories about duct work not being connected properly in new construction. In Las Vegas, that can mean some very high electric bills. A thorough home inspection will usually catch this.

Oct 03, 2009 05:50 PM
Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Hi Claudette - Great points made.  Just because a home is new construction doesn't mean that it's perfect in every way.  It's always wise to have a home inspected prior to closing the deal.

Oct 03, 2009 11:11 PM
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,


Hi Claudette:

All great points here.

We should always recommend a home inspection, new or old, it shouldn't matter.

Oct 03, 2009 11:43 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


I know exactly what you mean.  The builder in this story was certainly not a fan of mine. But, then, we are not there to make friends with the builder but to protect the client, right?


I agree wth that and I always convince them to have both of those inspections done, This was just one of many tales when it paid off significantly and I 'm sure you have similar stories. It just amazes me at how often the client tries to resist this at first because it is new construction. 


Yes, they trust the builder, the town inspector and the warranty to protect them. But, we know better and need to force the issue. I agree - such a significant investment against the cost of an inspection.  It's always worth it, in my opinion.


Oct 04, 2009 12:41 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


It does get warm in Las Vegas. Not having a proper air conditioning system would be intolerable. I am sure that they thank you for that.


I agree. It is wise and, I think, completely necessary.


Thanks, as always. Buyers need to protect such a large investment and an inspection gives peace of mind, even if no problems are found. 


Oct 04, 2009 12:50 AM
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Claudette, when I read the title to your post I was ready to jump all over this, thinking you were advising no to a professional inspection...glad I was wrong.  I've also seen so many things that the builder hoped would sneak by.    

Oct 04, 2009 03:16 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Hi, Nick:

The title was supposed to catch your attention - and I'm glad it did.  Thanks for reading it and for your comment.


Oct 04, 2009 03:27 PM
David Valley

Hello Claudette,


Long time no see. I hope all is well.

Nice article. I can't count how many times I tell new homeowners to get me in there and I will guarantee them that I will come up with a list of items that need improving on newly constructed homes.

Anyone who has worked in the construction field can tell stories of the shortcuts and human errors that routinely occur on a new construction, even on the best built of homes. Workmen have bad days, materials can have defects, details can be overlooked, components can be omitted, and municipal building inspectors simply have too little time to check every nook and cranny within the newly built house.

If new home Buyers want to take chances on waiving their home inspection on a newly constructed home, I seriously think their making a big mistake and I honestly wish them the best of luck. There is a lot of shoddy construction out there and the vast amount of construction errors (I find on a daily basis) is absolutely astonishing. Maybe this news clip will help these Buyers make a decision.

David Valley

Massachusetts Home Inspections

Oct 05, 2009 10:21 PM
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

Bad news clip link above...try THIS ONE

Oct 05, 2009 10:26 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


It's great to hear from you since you are an authority on this subject. I am sure you have many stories to tell about what you have found in new construction. That video is a great eye opener and I will keep it handy. Thanks very much.


Oct 05, 2009 10:42 PM
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Claudette, I preach about new construction inspections all the time, but many buyers do not see the need or want to part with the $ for a home inspection for many of reasons you said in your post. Some new homes I have inspected have had more problems than homes 50 years older.

Look back a few years ago when the building industry was booming. Quality was not a major priority in many developments. Case in point; You comment on my post today where the attic of a brand new home was left a mess and the insulation was damaged.

Buyers who believe what the builders say and that the town building officials have thoroughly inspected the home could be in for a rude awaking later on.

No question about it, new homes need home inspections!

Oct 08, 2009 09:04 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


You are so right.  That's why we need good inspectors, like you!

Thanks for stopping by.


Oct 08, 2009 09:58 AM
nancy everett

What kind of protection is offered to the home owner if the inspector they hired misses something and they have problems down the road?

The system seems set up to protect the realtors interest only.  The inspector receives his fee, the realtor receives their commission.  The inspector provides no warrenty.

Apr 29, 2012 01:19 AM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass

Hi Nancy:

I don't know what part of the country you are writing from.  However, the answer to your question would probably depend on whom you use for an inspector. A licensed home inspector should certainly stand behind his work.  I have had clients who have called home inspectors to task for their errors and they have made good on the issues. If you feel that the inspector has missed something you should let him (or her) know that you have a grievance.




Apr 29, 2012 04:48 AM