It is new construction---why would I need an inspection?

Home Inspector with Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

To answer the title's question, I wish I could say, “Just because.”

I know that is not going to convince anyone though, so I will give some examples of why EVERY home needs an inspection in the context of a real estate transaction--even new construction.

While I agree the number of serious issues likely to be found in the context of the inspection of a brand new home goes down, how many “little things” would it take to equal the cost of an inspection? Even the most expensive home inspector’s fee will likely be well below the cost of a few minor things and sometimes considerably less.

On a recent inspection, where the client opted to not have a purchase inspection done, all I can say is they were mighty glad they got the one year warranty inspection done. With the builder still in business, some of the issue will now hopefully still be able to get resolved.

There were a few things I would consider cosmetic but for this discussion I will only discuss the things that will clearly add up to considerably more than the cost of the inspection--if the builder was not in the picture.

The first thing discovered was that the vent cap for the high efficiency furnace was plumbed backwards. Instead of the exhaust blasting away from the house it was instead directed toward the siding, as the exhaust came out the area where the air intake was supposed to be.

I noticed a slight amount of rusting of the fasteners of the cap (circled in red) and I would not have anticipated that much rusting in eleven months---especially on the non-weather side of the home. Firing up the IR Camera, it became immediately clear the cap was plumbed backwards.


The white/yellow area around the cap is the exhaust gases venting agains the siding.

Plumbed backwards

The next significant issue was the 4 inches of water in much of the crawl space. This might be quite an expensive fix depending on what is necessary---including possible installation of a sump pump system.

There was also no pan under the water heater, the roof metal drip edge was missing in one location and on top of the roof underlayment everywhere else, and the blower door test results were 25% higher than they should have been.

Missing drip edge

All of these things would likely have been discovered had an actual inspection been done, but what if the one year warranty inspection had not been done?

I am by no means the least expensive home inspector in my area, and I have never not easily found at least the cost of the inspection in a new construction home.

Getting a thorough home inspection done is part of due diligence.

It should not be taken lightly.

Just because.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 05/30/2016 12:36 AM
  2. MaryKay Shumway 05/30/2016 02:11 AM
  3. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 05/30/2016 10:31 PM
  4. Praful Thakkar 06/21/2016 11:00 PM
  5. Carol Williams 06/28/2016 11:00 PM
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Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

People don't realize or think about the fact that the "Builder" is not the one that built your home. It is built by sub contractors, could be as many as a hundred people working on your home during the construction process... none of which you know. Still want to skip that new construction inspection?

May 30, 2016 12:04 AM #23
Bob Arena - happy to help :-)
Arena Home Inspections - #1 in USA !!! - Alpharetta, GA

Yes...on average...a newly constructed 4 bed/3 bath house...has 26 items that need to be addressed. Most of the items are relatively minor (caulk issues, missing door stops, leaks at shower head connections, etc.)...however...there is almost always at least one moderate to major item and/or safety related issue (improper roofing, loose handrails/guardrails, electrical wiring issues, plumbing leaks, etc.). Not paying a few hundred dollars...for a proper home inspection...on an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars...would be just plain dumb.

May 30, 2016 12:31 AM #24
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

I don't think any builder wants to build in problems for the buyer, it just happens. Getting the new construction home inspection is just common sense smart. 

May 30, 2016 12:48 AM #25
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

So true, Charles. I agree with you 100% - get an inspection, it makes good sense. D

May 30, 2016 01:18 AM #26
April Swenson
Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers - Ocean Shores, WA
CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate

I have seen builders, or their subcontractors, miss installing insulation above a kitchen and a proper drain pipe from the garbage disposal (it just drained into the was a mess a few years later).

May 30, 2016 01:58 AM #27
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Oh how I encourage people to get a home inspection on new construction -- especially during the construction phases . . . framing, dry walling, electrical, etc. Just had a client get a home inspection done on her new construction AFTER she moved in.  YIKES . . . insulation wasn't blown in the attic (in some areas), side walkway was poured incorrectly, strairs leading down from home to backyard were not to code!  It is so important to get things done right the first time . . . or, in the alternative . . . have the inspection done right!!  New construction is no exception.  Great post Charlie -- and great inspection finds!

May 30, 2016 03:28 AM #28
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

The fact that Subs and crews change along with the fast pace these homes are built there are going to be some missed items. The local building department and private home inspectors can't see everything but an inspection from a good inspector is worth the money because often the few dollar easy fixes can add up to costly repairs later on. I'm shocked the blower door was so high. Do they not test the homes there?

May 30, 2016 04:08 AM #29
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Wow, that water issue looks like it could be an expensive fix. How did they now do that correctly and get a final inspection?

May 30, 2016 05:13 AM #30
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great points!!!

All of these things would likely have been discovered had an actual inspection been done, but what if the one year warranty inspection had not been done? Getting a thorough home inspection done is part of due diligence.

It should not be taken lightly.

May 30, 2016 06:04 AM #31
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile


Hello Charles.  I agree with you, a Home Inspection on New Construction is well worth the cost.  As a Veteran, I purchase a New Home with the VA Benefit in 1987.  I had an excellent Builder who takes great pride in his business, and personally walks through each house on a regular basis.  He does the walk through with every client, punch list in hand.  He is thorough, but I am sure he has had occasions when that Warranty served him well, as it does the buyer. The Builder pays for the 2-10 Warranty, which is a Ten year Warranty on top of the Builders’ Warranty.


My thought is, if VA and FHA require these warranties, even after their Home Inspectors have made multiple inspections: WHY would I want to chance a defect or oversight on a $200,000 investment even if Charles Buell personally inspected a property I planned to finance with a Conventional loan.




I strongly encourage EVERY BUYER to order a Home Inspection.  My Buyers DO!  I then, out of my commissions, purchase a Homebuyer’s Warranty for them.  In the past two years, twice those warranties paid for themselves within six months of closing.  HOME INSPECTIONS have been the PRIMARY REASON more clients have not needed to file claims.  NEW Construction is not immune to the knowing eye of the Inspector.


Most everyone recognizes the wisdom of maintaining insurance on their automobile, regardless of price.  They know mistakes can be far more costly on a home purchase.  The Home Inspector, like their REALTOR® has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the clients’ interest.


Charles, thank you for your dedication to that which is right, and the valuable advice you provide.






Fred Cope,


Reliant Realty ERA Powered


Nashville, TN


May 30, 2016 10:21 AM #32
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

IMO new construction is as likely to have defects than older - you never know what corners were cut during contstruction until you have the inspection!

May 30, 2016 08:33 PM #33
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Charles Buell "but for this discussion I will only discuss the things that will clearly add up to considerably more than the cost of the inspection--if the builder was not in the picture."  Always get a new build inspected - and if starting from the ground up have a "phase" inspection.  Re-Blog!

May 30, 2016 10:31 PM #34
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Charles Buell ,

Well deserved featured post.  I'm a firm believer in inspections as the home is building built..especially before the sheet rock goes up and you can't see! Inspections are worth every penny spent.

May 30, 2016 10:50 PM #35
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Hi Charles Buell Having lived in "New Construction" I can attest that new construction has more "issues" than existing, and some of them can be quite expensive.

Bill Roberts

May 30, 2016 11:56 PM #36
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I do lots of new construction and one thing I always recommend to my clients is three inspections -- one prior to drywall; one prior to buyers' final walk; and one before the first year warranty from the builder expires. Amazing what comes out of these inspections. I tell my clients it's cheap insurance. If things are found, they are fixed upfront and if not they can sleep knowing they've bought a well-built home.

May 31, 2016 12:19 AM #37
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Charles Buell - in fact not just the inspection on new construction - it should be done at various stages of the construction.

(Bookmarked for my clients - thanks for sharing your expertise.)

May 31, 2016 01:03 PM #38
Doug Rogers
Bayou Properties - Alexandria, LA
Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent

Inspections help everyone involved sleep easier at night. Nice post!

May 31, 2016 10:36 PM #39
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Hi Charles - it still amazes me that in my area inspections on new homes are extremely uncommon. "It's brand new - what could be wrong?", right?

May 31, 2016 11:55 PM #40
Cesar Bautista
Keller Williams Realty Central Coast ~ Pismo Beach - Santa Maria, CA
Your Central Coast Area Realtor 805.264.1646

Charles - As mentioned, checking good workmanship is not guaranteed because so many factors play into the equation including human error so due diligence is important even in new construction.   A few extra bucks for an inspection is worth the peace of mind.  Sometimes builders offer a one-year warranty on most repairs with subdivision developments.  


Jun 01, 2016 03:12 AM #41
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I am not sure why people think that new means perfect.  A new house is built by man who is, by nature, prone to imperfection!

Jun 21, 2016 11:17 PM #42
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Charles Buell

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