Should I have a new home warranty inspection? Would there be any problems with a new home?
If you purchased a newly built home, you may feel that there would be no reason for a home inspection. You might also feel that if you do not see a problem then there is no problem. You may be right; however, there is a better chance that you are wrong. I perform new home warranty inspections, but these are usually for clients who have become concerned over one issue, mainly their roof. I would like to suggest that you take a careful look at your home before the warranty is up. If not with a home inspector, you should take the time to carefully examine the home yourself.
What would be covered under the new home warranty?
This is where I would suggest reading your contract. In any home sale, you have a good many pieces of paper flying across your desk. When having a new home built, you have even more paperwork detailing what exactly will be built along with who is responsible for certain items. One thing that comes up in new home construction is changes made during the building process which can make it difficult to remember what your agreement was. I have had clients who thought that the builder would be putting in a light here, an outlet there, a garage door opener, and other items, but these were not listed in the contract. It is then easy to forget the warranty, because you have been focused on the completion of the home.
The builder may be the point person for all or your warranty issues, but they may not be responsible for everything. Some items may be product warranties offered by the manufacturer. These warranties could mean that you have to go through the manufacturer’s representative. The builder will deal mainly with the structure. The warranty is typically for one year. You may find that the roof or mechanical equipment could have a warranty of up to five years through the manufacturers. How the warranties work should have been detailed to you by the builder’s representative.
Why would I need a home inspector to perform a warranty inspection?
I one time had a conversation with a builder about my report. He said I know that you have to put that in your report, but you know that I am not going to fix that. He was referring to the fact that the minimum home inspection standards required by Texas are not the standards builders use to construct your home. They do not have to build to those standards. If you were convinced that you did not need a home inspection when you bought the home, you may be surprised but what comes up when you sell the home. There can be a host of issues that you will have to deal with.
What I usually discover is that minor issues were not repaired during construction, but these minor issues can become major. Consider what is happening during construction, the builder has his crew and subcontractors all over the house. He may very well be overseeing the construction of five to ten houses at one time. Like any good manager, the builder will walk through each home checking on the quality of the job, but he is not thoroughly checking every detail. Does the manager at your job look at every aspect of your work performance? That would be micromanaging an employee, and it is not an efficient use of time. One common problem will be the roof. Uncaulked nails could lead to leaks. I have found incorrectly installed siding, which allowed for pests to enter the attic. Also, wiring issues that could cause fires or electrical failures will come up. I also found a big gap between two wall coverings which could have become a big problem during rains. In the case of this gap, the homeowner, builder, and another home inspector were convinced that it was no big deal. Fortunately, I did not have to work hard to state my case to the homeowner.
The next thing to remember is that your home is always changing. The weather, house settling, or maybe some use will reveal problems that were not evident when you first moved into your home. Leaks do not become obvious till it rains. An improperly installed oven might not be noticed until it has been used several times. The weight of the roof and mechanical systems in the attic may eventually cause cracks in the sheetrock. When a homeowner notices these issues, then he can react; however, do walk through your home with fresh eyes to check every aspect? Do you climb on the roof? When I was a manager at a large business, I found that people did not do this check, even when required. I also saw that you may notice an issue, but then it became part of the landscape when the issue was left unrepaired. We forget about it; we live with it. So you would be wise to examine your home before the warranty expires (even if you are not using a home inspector).
Peace of mind may be the best reason to have a new home warranty inspection. There are Realtors who tell their clients that they do not need a home inspection. Now, a Realtor is required to behave ethically with the parties involved. They feel that a home inspection is not needed, because they are not aware. Good Realtors always suggest that their clients consider inspections. Builders may mention that they had building inspectors examine the home or that they are required to build to code. This is true in most instances, but some areas do not have building inspectors, so there is no way to know if the home was built correctly. As mentioned previously, this might not be enough to ensure that your home is in the best shape, and meeting the standards set out by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Know your home warranty, and inspect your home before it expires.