Over the many years that I've been in real estate, I've sold many new construction homes to hundreds of home buyers and have worked for several different builders as a site agent in new developments. One question that I get quite often is, Is it really necessary to have a home inspection if the house is brand new and never been lived in? Even though the builder may have a stellar reputation of building a quality home, as an agent and homeowner myself, my answer is always 'Yes'. Money spent on a home inspection is never money wasted, but rather, money well-spent in my professional opinion. There are several important reasons for having a home inspection on a newly-built home and here are three reasons why:
1. Homes are Built by People. If you've ever watched the building process, there is so much that goes into building a new home from start to finish. There are numerous construction workers or various tradesmen that are in and out of your home to complete different phases of the building process such as framers, plumbers, drywall installers, electricians, roofers, heating and air workers, appliance installers, painters, etc. just to name a few. County inspectors are also required to come out to inspect the home at various stages of the building process, and a final inspector comes out upon completion of the home in order to issue a Certificate of Occupancy or CO--which means that the home is ready for home occupancy. Because there is so much involved and so many different people involved in the building process, there is no way of knowing if something was inadvertently missed or incorrectly installed, especially if it is not an obvious defect. And keep in mind that homes are built by people, and people are not perfect...we are all prone to make mistakes. A professional home inspection for your new home is not designed to criticize every minor problem or defect in the home, it is intended to identify major items or defects that may appear minor on the surface, but important enough that it could lead to major problems later (e.g., water leaks/intrusion or electrical fires).
2. It allows Defects to be Identified Firsthand. By having a professional home inspection performed on a new home, it allows the inspector to identify the items that need to addressed, and it gives the builder an opportunity to address those items before you take possession and move into your new home. There is nothing worse than moving all of your beautiful new furniture into a new home, only to find out a few weeks later that your new tub in the upstairs bathroom had a small chip/hole in it that wasn't noticeable by a mere visible inspection, and with each use, water leaked underneath and saturated the floor to the extent that it fell through (I read that this actually happened to a homeowner in the area). A professional home inspection that's done upon completion of the home, but prior to closing, would have likely identified that and prevented that from happening. You have the right as the home buyer to require these items to be fixed before closing on the home, and most reputable builders will gladly make the necessary repairs without question.
3. To See the Home Through the Eyes of an Objective Third Party. A final reason it is recommended to have a home inspection on your newly built home is because as a home buyer, you may not exactly know what to look for. Buying a newly built home is almost like buying a new car--just more expensive. When you walk in your new home once it is completed, it has the new home smell of fresh wood, the pleasing aroma of a freshly painted interior, shiny new appliances, and freshly installed new carpet and flooring. You may be so in awe of the interior finishes that you may not know that a roof truss was missing or poorly installed in the attic. You may not know that a washer was loose or missing from the bathroom sink, causing it to leak slowly underneath. You may not be aware that the electrical outlet in your kitchen or bathroom should be ground-fault protective per code requirements. A professional home inspection for a new home should be just as comprehensive as a re-sale home and will include checking the following items such as appliances, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and heating, ventilation, roof and attic, foundation, and general structure. Having a home inspection on your new home will allow you to see the home through the critical eyes of an objective third party. Because this is one of the biggest financial investments you will ever make, it will be well worth it to spend a few hundred dollars upfront, so that you can have peace of mind moving forward after you've closed on your new home.