Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372


FURTHER, PROBABLY 90% OR MORE ARE COMPLETED WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF A HOME INSPECTOR.  This one surprises me more because all one has to do is Google any builder in the United States and read about the bad experiences of that builders' product. 

This post is inspired by Jay Markinich's post  this a.m. about a serious design flaw in an unfinished part of the basement of a newly constructed home.  This obvious flaw is unlikely to be noticed by 95% of home buyers simply because the consumer is not experienced or trained to identify such design flaws. 


The builder?  Absolutely.  Why would they saddle this home buyer with a bath rough-in that is virtually useless???  Who in that company was responsible?? 

The county code inspector?  Absolutely.  I can't believe that the proximity of the electrical panel and the plumbing rough-in would not get their attention. 

The home buyer?  Of course.  The home buyer was unwilling or unaware that the home inspector should be an integral part of their home buying experience from beginning to end.  If the buyer wanted to save the cost of my recommended 3 step inspection (foundation, pre-dry wall and pre-settlement), they didn't succeed.  The cost of cracking that slab and correcting and moving the rough-in will exceed the additional cost of a FULL new home inspection.  Home buyers don't want to pay for full inspection services on new construction thinking, as they are advised by the builders sales agent, that the county inspectors will make sure everything is right.  Builders often discourage or thwart early inspections (or any inspections) by making scheduling difficult. 

The buyer's agent?  Well, we don't even know if one existed. 

All I can say is, I hope that the likelihood of this happening on my watch would only be because the buyer wouldn't listen to their agent.  That happens too. 

EXAMPLE BELOW is a home that is in frame and should already have had one inspection by the home buyer's inspector.  The foundation should have been inspected which may have identified the faulty location of the rough in for the basement bathroom or electrical panel.  The foundation inspection should be performed with the builder's superintendent AND the architectural plans so the inspector can make sure that they are correct and provide for the home buyer's wishes.  The home buyer (and agent if there is one) should be present.

Home framing

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker,, 800-711-7988.

Posted by


Want to learn more about Loudoun County, VA? Join Loudoun County, VA on Facebook!


Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Lenn, I've never seen anyone move into a new home where there wasn't a long punch list of items that needed to be corrected. These items are usually onely the visible defects. A home inspector is needed to find the hidden items that aren't cosmetic.

Jul 30, 2011 01:26 AM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

New York is an attorney state, and in my area the attorneys will not send out contracts until inspections are completed and settled. I cannot think of a tranaction (condo apartments excluded) where there wasn't an inspection. 

Jul 30, 2011 01:28 AM
Daniel H. Fisher (704) 617-3544 - Charlotte, NC
MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC

We always recommend an independent home inspection for new Charlotte NC and SC homes while under construction. 

Over the past 36 months, these inspections have uncovered issues with broken engineered trusses, improperly flashed windows, melted panel wiring, unsecured appliances, improperly wired fire alarms, bent wall framing, missing fire caulking, reversed hot and cold water, nail pops throughout roof, water penetration behind siding, drainage problems and GFI and ARC fault issues. 

While these are seemingly minor and some may never create a problem, some are major, were missed by the building inspector and were a serious safety issue that was easily corrected during the build, but would have been difficult and costly to repair later.

Don't skip the independent inspection.

Jul 30, 2011 01:39 AM
K.C. McLaughlin
RE/MAX United - Cary, NC
Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC

Great post Lenn. It amazes me how hard I have to work to onvince my buyers that they need a home inspection for all home purchases EVEN new construction. Just closed one last week where the inspector found faulty wiring in the electrical box. This is such a large purchase and investment - well worth the price of the home inspection AND survey (don't get me going on surveys). If the price of the home inspection/survey is too much for you, you probably shouldn't be buying a house!

Jul 30, 2011 01:54 AM
Jason Feinman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - River Vale, NJ
Bergen County Real Estate Expert, ABR, CNE, e-PRO

I can believe the 70% without buyers representation but I don't think the 90% regarding not doing inspections is accurate. Either way, the first thing a potential buyer must do is search for a Realtor who will work for him/her as a buyers' agent, then more than likely the buyers' agent will recommend several inspectors for the buyer to choose from to protect his/her clients' best interests.

Jul 30, 2011 02:03 AM
Scotti Jowers
CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes - West Monroe, LA
Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale

I've bought 2 homes without representation and without home inspections. This, of course, was before I became a real estate professional. Both homes were also purchased from family members; one from my parents and the other from my grandfather and his sister. I dread having to sell this home I'm currently in, but it is inevitible. I will definitely have a pre inspection before I put it on the market and head some of these issues off at the pass. Thanks for the post!

Jul 30, 2011 02:53 AM
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX
Most misconception is that a new home will not have any issues. Buyers fail to understand that builder are in the business of making money and some would cut corners.
Jul 30, 2011 03:20 AM
Matt Kombrink
The Kombrink Team - Geneva, IL
Chicagoland Residential Real Estate since 1991
Interesting topic and I like this idea of yours. I agree with Scotti too that pre-inspection before listing your home for sale is a good idea.
Jul 30, 2011 03:20 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Here is my thought Lenn after reading your post. A seasoned developer who has roots and references only works with seasoned, predictable sub-contractors who know what standard of construction to apply. The GC calls the play. If he is a hit and run builder, then yes, Google will out him soon enough. The guy I work with is second generation seasoned and his product comes out of the barn in the 97% perfection mode. The other 3% he will get to after you moved in and help him fine tune it. None of his purchasers have anything but praise. Anything less that this...LET THE BUYER BEWARE...good one Lenn and thank you

Jul 30, 2011 03:24 AM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


New home builders are far from perfect, and in the interests of getting things done, often "let things go".

The buyer needs someone to guide them through the process. These things are typically very expensive to fix afterwards. If they can be spotted early, then they can often be corrected with  a minimum of expense.


Jul 30, 2011 03:41 AM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Lenn - Excellent advice.  Paying for a home inspector's service through the construction process is such a small price to pay compared to expensive repairs that may have to be made later due to sloppy construction.  I have a family member living in a house (constructed 30 years ago) which certainly looked nice way back then when it was purchased but oh...the problems in that house due to its cheap construction and building shortcuts have been like a domino effect.  Great post.

Jul 30, 2011 04:08 AM
Kerissa Payne
The Kerissa Payne Team at eXp Realty - Tyler, TX

Graet Advice Lenn!  I'm reblogging!

Jul 30, 2011 04:32 AM
John Davison
Coldwell Banker - Cary, NC
Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC

Better safe than sorry, I always say.

Jul 30, 2011 04:44 AM
Fernando Herboso - Associate Broker MD, & VA
Maxus Realty Group of Samson Properties - Clarksburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Lenn: I sold a 5 year old townhouse for the original owners.. .during the inspection for the new buyers they informed us that we have to PUT insulation in the attic. . there was NONE!

Sure enough. .the new builder omitted putting insulation and the homeowners never thought about doing an inspection when they originally purchased this property.. all they could say. .. no wonder this townhouse was so cold!


Jul 30, 2011 06:06 AM
Florence Foote
Keller Williams® Realty - Topanga, CA
Realtor, real estate agent

It is foolish to think of buying a home without having at least a home inspection.  Additional inspections (roof inspection, chimney inspection, foundation inspection...) are also useful to identify potential defects and give the choice to the buyers to determine what is faulty and fixable.  After all, buying a home is one of the greatest investments in someone's lifetime.  I even recommend doing a home inspection on my listing before putting them on the market to evaluable what potential problems the buyers will find out and determine whether to fix them or adjust the price consequently.  That way, the sellers are less likely to be surprised at time of negotiations.

Jul 30, 2011 07:14 AM
Melissa Brown
Helen Adams Realty - Charlotte, NC
Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale

I can't believe the number of buyers who would skimp on $500 worth of inspections on a $400,000 home!  It's ludicrous!  I can't believe how many intelligent buyers believe the builder's rep when they say their representing the buyers' best interests!

Jul 30, 2011 07:32 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Melissa.  Believe it.  Home buyers WANT to believe that the builder will deliver a quality product and give them a "good deal".

Florence.  The roof, foundation and chimney will be a par of the inspection.

Fernanco.  HA!  I bet they could say "no wonder it's so HOT and so COLD.

Kerissa.  Thanks.  Love rebloggers.

John.  Thanks.  At the least.

Barbara.  That's what happens when the owners starts out with a defective product.

Brian.  That's why I recommend the three stage inspection.

Richie.  Thanks.  I too have sold new construction that was as perfect as a property could be.  There are great builders out there.  In my area, I know who they are.

#51.  Thanks.  Pre-listing inspections are always recommended in my network.

Mike.  Some would and surely do.

Scotti.  The lask of a home inspection is only the second worse after deferred maintenance.  Owners are going to pay, not or later.

Jason. I don't know where you are, but when a home inspection is mentioned to a builder's rep here, they are shocked, they hear it so little.  Without an agent, most buyers don't want to "insult" the builder with an inspection.

K.C.  I can't believe any lender would lend without a survey.  Interesting.

Daliel.  Thanks for the list.  I could add some worse defects.

Phil.  Are your new construction sales "attorney" contracts also????

Michael.  Indeed.  That's why I recommend inspections througout the process.

Cheryl.  You bet and there can be defects at this stage too.

Richard.  This is not the case here. 

Eileen.  The homes are inspected by the county ONLY for safety, not for quality or defects.

Jay.  If the buyer expects to finish that basement bath it better.

Mike.  It's rare to have a good home inspector not undover some defects, some major.

Kim.  Not funny at all.  It's what the builder's rep leads them to believe.


Jul 30, 2011 08:14 AM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Lenn - That's a huge number of unrepresented buyers, and with 90% not getting home inspections, it's doesn't sound like the rep is there for the buyer.

Jul 30, 2011 02:10 PM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I always receommend buyers have an inspection on new construction and if early enough your 3-stage approach. Unfortunately, buyers feel that they are covered by the builders one-year warranty and rarely inspect. It's frustrating but all I can do is advise.

Jul 30, 2011 04:07 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Christine.  I don't understand your comment, "rep" ??????

Tammie.  The one year warranty is fine for things that fail to operate.  Sadly, it doesn't cover structural matters that can only be discovered before the drywall is inspected.  Even then, if the foundation is not sound, the house will always be defective.


Jul 30, 2011 11:14 PM