A Home Inspection, Why?
Our House Is BRAND NEW!
Getting a new construction home inspection may sound crazy but it makes perfectly good sense. New does not mean correct. We’ve noticed that in about 9 out of 10 new homes that we have inspected, the inspector has found something important wrong. When something important is wrong, it can cost you money for future repairs or in your monthly utility costs. Besides financial savings, you’ll get years of peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to wonder if everything was installed correctly.
The Builder Fixes Everything, Right?
The City Building Department inspects each home at most stages of construction but they do not reinspect the same things. Sometimes a sub-contractor will break something and the worker doesn’t want to pay for the damage so it is not reported. Sub-contractors are often paid by the foot which means that speed equals more money. Repairing and re-doing something costs them money. Yes, the builder looks over things when they’re finished, but some things are missed.
Delivery of Your Home
City Building Inspectors have a check-list that must be completed for the City to issue the Certificate of Occupancy. Some items on the list are not verified visually- like attic insulation. The insulation company issues a certificate and the inspector accepts that. Yes, there are mistakes- some big and some small.
After the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, the house is cleaned. Next, you do a walk-thru and systems orientation. After that is completed, the builder fixes things that were noted on the punch list while you sign the loan and title documents. Your loan will fund the next day and the deed will record.
Congratulations! Now you get the keys to your new home and you believe everything works great. We hope that this is true for you. However, because that’s not always the case, we recommend that you have your home inspected.
Warranties last for different periods but most at least cover almost everything for the first year. Appliances and mechanical systems will typically have a 2-year warranty and roof tiles may have a 7-30 year defect warranty.
Most new construction Las Vegas Builders have some kind of 2-10 Year Structural Warranty. Structural warranty claims average over $40,000 so having one is important. Of course, after you close on your home, extended warranties will be offered to you for everything.
What’s Not Covered
Items not covered by most builders after your initial walk-thru are ones that aren’t obviously their fault. Those include scratches on mirrors, glass, and wood. We encourage our clients to enjoy their orientation and to only focus on cosmetic items and how their home functions. You’ll be given touch-up paint but check the paint and drywall at your walk-thru so that you will only need minimal paint touch-up after you move in.
We suggest that you keep a list of repair items in a kitchen drawer and submit it to the builder’s customer service every month or two. Mark your calendar on about your 11 month anniversary to submit a final repair request. Make sure you check for settling cracks in the walls and ceiling and around the outside of your home.
Get Inspection During Your Walk-Thru
Before your new home purchase is finalized you have leverage. A builder wants you happy so that they can move on to the next house. If there is a problem after your walk-through you have to tell customer service. The problem we see with this is that you may not know that there is a problem to tell them about.
We suggest that you verify everything is correct before you take possession of your new home. People believe that everything is correct because they purchased a brand new home. We understand that, so we pay for a new-construction home inspection for every client we represent. If you are not our client, please hire an inspector.
Hidden issues are what can cost you money besides possibly harming a system. While your “Walk-Through and System Orientation” is taking place, we have a knowledgable new construction home inspector, who works for you, take a closer look at everything in your home. The inspection is for your protection and peace of mind. An additional bonus is that this inspection can pay for itself many times over.
Most people will never go into their attic, on their roof or examine their windows closely. Finding obvious flaws and cosmetic items at the walk-thru and during the first month is normal. The unknown is what can cost you money- monthly, yearly, and when you sell the home years from now.
- Missing insulation and drywall
- Exposed wiring in the attic
- Structural problems such as a cut or broken truss and missing nails
- Broken window seals
- Missing, cracked and broken roof tiles
Energy Star or LEED Homes
In Las Vegas, many homes are now built with high energy efficiency. If a house conforms to the standards, they are rated as Energy Star Homes. Our personal Energy Star Home saves us $750-$1000 a year on utilities compared to our last home.
Energy Star Homes can feature Low-E windows, radiant barriers, tank-less water-heaters, and extra insulation levels. Things like smaller windows can be a big factor too. The AC/Heat systems in these homes are designed to be balanced and work with other features to achieve a “Green” and Money-Saving house. When a feature is installed incorrectly, your “Energy Star Home” can cost you money.
Examples of Hidden Energy Defects:
- A reversed Low-E window won’t repel heat and cold, it will pull the heat or cold into the home
- The insulation above a room may not entirely cover the ceiling so your home is hotter and colder
- Would you know if the $2000 radiant barrier you paid for was installed on the attic ceiling?
- A disconnected air duct can heat and cool your attic for years
- One or multiple AC units may be low on freon (now called HCFC-22 or R-22) from the manufacturer. Undetected, your units will run harder and longer using more power and wearing out your units sooner. Eventually, you may need to pay for a service call and freon
- A gap at the fascia boards can allow all kinds of critters into your attic. A person rarely looks up at these things
- Broken or cut trusses will cause structural integrity issues and more settling cracks. A future buyer’s inspector might see this and you’ll have an expensive repair
How Do You Determine if the Low-E Orientation is Proper?
(Infomation from our inspector:)
inventive ways of determining whether the window orientation is correct including using a butane lighter. In reality, the only way to positively ascertain the proper orientation is by using a Low-E meter. Believe it or not many glazing (glass) contractors do not carry the equipment necessary to verify Low-E window orientation before installing the window. Generally, the installing contractor will look for the sticker placed on the window by the manufacturer. If the sticker fell off then the installing contractor has a 50 / 50 chance of installing the window correctly. Whenever there is a 50 / 50 chance there is a 95% probability it will be installed improperly!
New House Inspectors Are Unique
New Construction Home Inspections need to be done by an inspector who is specially trained for inspecting new construction houses. Resale home inspectors inspect fewer items and may not have the additional expertise required for new homes. A new construction inspector needs to know about modern building codes, energy-saving products and systems, and also Smart Home technology features.
New construction inspectors check the interior systems, windows, walls, and basically the entire structure. They also check the attic, the garage, and the outside walls. Roofs are inspected using drones and binoculars. Temperatures are checked inside appliances and at all vents and faucets.
Our New Home Issues
Our personal home inspector found moisture in a shower wall in the guest bath with his moisture meter. Having grown children we might not have found that leak for years. The repair was extensive involving granite, drywall, plumbing, and mold testing. If we found that problem two years later, it would have been extremely expensive and our responsibility.
We also purchased a home with a bowed wall due to the plumbing. In another house we bought, there was no drywall on the inside wall of a closet around the door jam. My point is that there can be many things that a home inspector and even the builder doesn’t see. Obviously, the drywall guy knew that he didn’t cover that wall but it saved him time. The more eyes you have on your team, the better your house will be.
One day we felt air coming out of the medicine cabinet slots. Kurt went into the attic to investigate and it was a duct coming out of the air handler that came unattached. Looking around he discovered that there was no insulation over about 100 square feet of the master bedroom ceiling. We had high ceilings so we noticed a temperature difference in the room but never thought it was due to insulation. Missing this insulation had cost us money and comfort for two years.
Do yourself a favor and get a New Construction Home Inspection or just hire us for free (the builder pays us at no cost to you) and we will hire the best as a gift.
Inspectors For New Construction
After doing hundreds of walkthrus, we began giving every client a home inspection as a gift. That’s how important we believe a home inspection is for your new home. You need to protect yourself because in reality, mistakes are made and usually no one else is looking out for you.
Once you decide to have a new construction home inspection, use caution when choosing the person or company. Resale Home Inspectors are not trained to recognize potential problems with the features of new-construction homes. Interview potential inspectors before hiring them by asking what they will be inspecting. Ask if they use thermal imaging and if they check window orientation as well as window seals. Do they do thermal imaging? Ask if they have a special tool for testing energy-efficient windows and if they use a moisture meter and a drone? These tools are expensive and invaluable.
Keys To Your Home’s Safety
The National Association of Realtors recommends that the first thing you do once a home becomes yours, is to change the locks. In Nevada, Builders use smart locks. Once your master key is inserted, all sub-contractor access keys will no longer work. You can rest easier and feel secure from day one- but put your key into EVERY door lock.
Garage doors also have key locks for extra security and in case you don’t have a garage door opener yet. I also feel safer because modern windows come with a variety of locking features. Home safety for your family comes in many forms. Don’t be the only home on the block without a video camera. Make deals with the neighbors to film your home and you’ll film theirs. Neighborhood safety works well when working together.
Protecting Your Investment
New construction home inspections are just as important as getting one for a re-sale home. If you want to buy a Southern Nevada property, contact our team today. Besides providing you with a home inspection on every new home, we protect our clients with FREE New Construction Monitoring as your home is being built. The best part? The Builder or the Home Seller pays me, not you! A Builder’s prices are the same whether you have a Realtor or not- definitely have one.
The catch? We have to accompany you to the home tract on your first visit and you cannot already be on the builders mailing list- and yes, exceptions are made but don’t go without us for the first time. If you cannot resist going without us, tell them you have a Realtor and don’t sign their registration form!
We suggest that starting right now that you don’t sign into any builder’s website either. If you want more information or a brochure, let us get that for you. Absolutely protect yourself by calling us today to put us on your team- free of charge! Kurt’s Construction Monitoring skills can be invaluable to you with how quickly homes are built in Southern Nevada.
We have a general information New Construction Homes Blog on our website. Also, see the blog about 7 Reasons Why You Should Use A New Construction Realtor. Feel free to use our New Construction Home Search- it gives you a good idea of what’s out there. The program doesn’t filter well sometimes so feel free to call us and we can email you homes.
Set an appointment for a housing consultation- put us on YOUR team. Call us with questions at 702-750-7599 or fill out the Contact Us Form. Our goal is to save you time and money while locating your new home and to protect you at every step. After over 25 years of selling homes in Las Vegas, no one is better at this than our team. (Besides gifting our clients a New Construction Home Inspection, we gift an inspection on resale homes too.)
This blog was written by Terri Grosse. Terri and her husband/partner, Kurt, are a 24+ year Southern Nevada Top-Producing Real Estate Team. Kurt was a Nevada P.E., C.E. Engineer for 10 years before joining Terri selling Las Vegas Real Estate in 1996. Kurt’s construction experience and real estate knowledge make him the best new-home Realtor in town. Kurt and Terri both provide you with unique services as a completely free benefit to your investment and for your family.