How Many Wrongs Before its Right?

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

One of the biggest misconceptions I find in the real estate business is new homes don't need inspections. I hear this time and time again and time and time again I find problems with new homes.

The prevailing logic for not needing an inspection on a new home is the home has been inspected by the local building official.

The difference between a home inspection conducted by an independent and in most instances licensed home inspector and the town building official are many. The most significant disparity would be the home inspector is hired by the customer to perform an inspection on a specific home. The building official works for the town not the home buyer. His inspection is basically free.

We all know the cliché about free.

A building official's job is to ensure the home meets current codes. Not everything installed in a home falls under the building codes and therefore the building official's inspection.

Yet many components and systems do fall under his inspection list. One of these is the electrical system.

panelTake a look at this electric panel from a home built in 2007. This home is basically new and was being sold as new.

Notice anything off about the panel?

I would not expect anyone, but an inspector to pick up on what's missing.

The panel lacks AFCI breakers which have been required by code in CT since 2005.

This house was definitely inspected by the town building official.

Why am I so sure?

He left his card in a plastic bag outside taped to the gas meter. The same gas supply that lacked a bonding wire for the CSST gas piping installed throughout the house.

Do new homes need home inspections?

I think we all know the answer.

James Quarello
SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.


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Bill Ladewig - Escondido, CA
Experience Is Your Advantage

James, I don't sell or list homes but if I did I would not let any one purchase a home without an inspection from a licensed home inspector.

Dec 05, 2009 01:35 AM #4
Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

You are right.  We generally recommmend a home inspection prior to the builders 12 month warranty expiration.  Amazing how much you can find wrong (ie, broker tiles, bad electircal connects in attic area, etc.

Dec 05, 2009 01:37 AM #5
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

Thinking all about inspections should be the next Green Valley Savvy article.

Dec 05, 2009 01:48 AM #6
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Roy, I agree. If a home is well built I never have a problem saying so to my clients.

Epcom, 4 wrong turns leaves you still in the wrong direction ;)

Charlie, I have one or two here as well.

Bill, Always a wise idea.

Edward & Celia, Thanks. I know all to well what can be wrong with a new house.

Dec 05, 2009 01:49 AM #7
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Kate, Green Valley Savvy?

Dec 05, 2009 01:50 AM #8
Diane Williams
Pell City, AL

I agree that every home needs a home inspection done by an outside experience qualified home inspector.    This is especially true for new construction.   I know some wonderful builders who take pride in their work and build a great home.  Then you also have the ones who cut corners and don't check behind their subs.  Good reminder on how important it is to get an inspection done.

Dec 05, 2009 01:54 AM #9
Bill Saunders, RealtorĀ®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR

Hi James,

Thanks for this post, it gives me good ammunition justification to relay to my buyers, because many think "we" are all in this together for the $$$.

Dec 05, 2009 02:18 AM #10
John Mulkey - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

James - I understand that new homes need inspection because I was a home builder for 4 decades. I saw all the inspector oversights, and they still happen every day.

Dec 05, 2009 02:27 AM #11
Jody Deeds
Key Realty, LTD - Columbus, OH
"Helping You Move On With Your Plans"

Great advice for any buyer.  Just because it's "New" doesn't mean it's perfect. 

Dec 05, 2009 02:29 AM #12
Matt Listro
National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro - Vernon, CT
Your Credit Repair Expert

Hi James: Wow - any that's not just a "little detail" that is a saftey issue.


Dec 05, 2009 02:59 AM #13
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Hi Jim, now you know me and the whole electricity thing. So, yes indeed one needs an inspection on new construction. I would have said, oh look how bright and shiny that is, isn't that nice? Then I would have moved on to something less "electrifying".

Great advice, worth heeding I have to say!

Dec 05, 2009 03:17 AM #14
Kate Kate
San Diego, CA

The local newspaper I'm writing an article for the RE section once a month. LV and Henderson are in a valley and one area in is called Green Valley. Thus the Green Vally Savvy.

Dec 05, 2009 03:54 AM #15
Debbie White
Southeast Alaska Real Estate - Juneau, AK

Yikes - it appears at least one punch out plate is missing - like someone was putting in more breakers.  Somebody could stick a finger in there (like a child) and get a nasty surprise.  Also, something looks strange about the panel itself.  Maybe it's the photo, but it looks like an older style panel with the skinny switches.

Thank goodness I'm not a home inspector, but I sure have fun watching them work.

Dec 05, 2009 05:16 AM #16
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

Did you see all the comments at the bosses post on the missing joisted hanger-thingee. Many many people commented that they cannot believe the city inspector missed it. Us smart-uns, you and me, know it happens all of the times.


Dec 05, 2009 09:58 AM #17
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

James, you home inspectors have done a good job of brain-washing a lot of us.  I bought two houses in the last year (new ones) and had them both inspected.  Before this blog brain-washing by home inspectors, I probably wouldn't have. 

Dec 05, 2009 01:11 PM #18
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Diane, I think the good builders are in the minority.

Bill, Some may be motivated by $$$, but most of us look out for our clients.

John, They happen waaay to often and most people have no idea it's happening.

Jody, Anything as complex as a home can not be perfect, but I would like it to be safe.

Matt, Yes it is!

Andrea, You hit on a very relevant point. Most people would have seen a new electric panel and thought exactly that; Wow!, how nice.

Kate, I see.

Dec 06, 2009 07:35 AM #19
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Debbie, It's a trick of the light, there are no missing breakers.

Nutsy, Yes I saw and read the post. People need to be aware that local inspectors aren't always seeing what they should.

Barbara, We're like a cult. Chant our mantra, Get a home inspection, get a home inspection.....

Dec 06, 2009 07:40 AM #20
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

You just confirmed, again, why I'm adamant about my buyers having a professional home inspection when making a purchase.

Dec 07, 2009 04:14 AM #21
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

There's no such thing as a free panel box.

AFCI, SCHMEEFCI - isn't that like male bonding?

Dec 08, 2009 11:16 AM #22
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Craig, Good advice.

Jay, It could be very bonding if you and a buddy make the right connection.

Dec 08, 2009 09:44 PM #23
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