Think you don’t need a home inspection when purchasing a new build? Think again! Here are four reasons you need a home inspection—even if it’s a new build.
1. A home inspection is different from the final walk-through with the builder
During the final walk-through with the buyers, their REALTOR® and the builder, any last-minute details—like paint touch-ups—can be fixed before you get the keys. According to the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), many new homes and condos built by licensed builders carry a third-party home warranty—they’re mandatory in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, but in other provinces, individual builders can decide whether to offer one or not. CHBA members are required to offer a warranty.
Generally, this warranty protects the buyer against any material or workmanship defects, but only if they’re found before the coverage expires—usually between one and five years. Often, making a warranty claim after you’ve moved in and having crews coming to your property to deal with problems can be time-consuming, inconvenient, and stressful.
Unlike during a walk-through, a professional home inspector goes through your new property from top to bottom before the final walk-through and provides a written report detailing any problems that may have been overlooked by tradespeople.
2. A home inspector provides an impartial, expert report
Just because a house is new doesn’t mean it’s perfect, says Pascal Cabana, a building expert and technical supervisor at Legault-Dubois in La Prairie, Quebec. The company offers home inspections and other services including air quality testing and lab analysis.
“There can be a mouldy attic, an improperly installed window, or a creaking floor,” explains Cabana. “It’s much easier to have these problems rectified by your contractor before taking possession of the building than having to resort to the warranty.”
Having a home inspection report in hand during the pre-delivery walkthrough also helps ensure all issues are dealt with, says Cabana.
“The client and the contractor write down the elements to be corrected or completed and enter due dates for the work, which shouldn’t exceed six months. Only once everything is in line with the client’s expectations do they agree to take possession of the house, and here’s where the services of a home inspector are very valuable,” he explains. That’s because when the buyer already has a list of things that need attention, the information can be clearly related to the contractor during the final walkthrough.
“The inspector’s expertise allows buyers of new homes who do not know the building to benefit from an impartial, professional opinion on the state of the work,” adds Cabana.
3. Mistakes can happen, and inspectors often find them
While most builders deliver high-quality work, mistakes can happen.
“During our inspections of new homes, the most frequent problem encountered is everything related to flashings: balconies, doors, and windows junctions. These are points prone to water infiltration,” Cabana explains.
Cabana has also seen issues with landfilling that doesn’t leave adequate clearance between the ground and the bottom of the exterior wall, indoor garages that leak, and new condos that are not airtight, which can lead to humidity and condensation problems. Provinces have different established inspection checklists for new condos or homes, notes Cabana.
“Through this list, the building inspector will inspect the foundation, the exterior cladding, the roof, the doors, and the windows to verify the quality of the installation,” he explains. “They’ll inspect the stairs, terraces and balconies, the chimney, and the exhaust ducts. Inside, they’ll focus on interior finishes, lighting, ventilation and heating systems, plumbing, and so on.”
4. A home inspection can save you headaches
Buyers may assume if their property is covered under a residential construction warranty, they don’t have to worry if something goes wrong once they move in. However, it’s always easier for the buyer and the contractor to carry out corrective work while the workers are still on site, advises Cabana.
“Otherwise, the contractor must withdraw part of their team from another site to return and rectify the situation, which leads to additional expenses and delays on the contractor’s other sites,” he says. “This can cause resentment and insecurity for the owners plus friction and inconvenience for everyone.”
Expect to pay $550 or more for a condo unit inspection, and more than $800 for a new home. A home inspection can give buyers something priceless: peace of mind. Your REALTOR® can help guide you through the entire new construction process and be a valuable resource.
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