Final Walk-through New Home Inspections
Why do I need a final walk-through?
Many people believe that they don’t need to have a new home inspected. We beg to differ with that; we often write some of our longer defect lists on new homes.
New Homes are built with much tighter tolerances than in years past. This generally means a better house, but it also means there is less of a “Safety Margin” in many of the systems and components, as overbuilding is “wasted money” to the builder. Many new components have very specific installation instructions which, if not followed, will void any warranties and may lead to premature failure.
“Built to Code” does not mean “Built Best”.
“Code” is a set of minimum building standards set forth by the government for a safe and efficient house. Saying that a house is “Built to Code” is similar to saying “we built the cheapest house we were allowed to.” Ideally, you want a house that exceeds code in lots of places.
Won’t the county inspectors find all the problems?
The local county or city inspectors are looking for different things than we are. They are looking for the gross issues that can cause structural failures or major life safety issues. They would like to say they look at all the same things we do, but it is a matter of time. They have 10-20 houses to look at in a day, while we look at one or two. We have the time to walk around in the attic, open the electrical panels, look inside closets and cabinets, test a representative sample of outlets and windows, and examine individual beams and trusses along with looking into or at everything else we can.
Don’t the builders care?
All builders want to build a good house. They also want to make a good profit, and sometimes these two facts are in conflict. Most builders use subcontractors, and the subcontractors are motivated to work fast and cheap. It is also possible to have seven or eight different subcontractor crews working on a house, and they rarely talk to each other. If one crew puts something in the way of another, it just gets moved, cut or drilled through so they can do their job, even if what was moved, cut or drilled is not supposed to be moved, cut or drilled.
What about Cosmetic Issues? Do you Inspect Items such as Drywall?
We do! Click to learn more about our Drywall inspection process here: ASTM Drywall Standards
What types of things do you find?
On final walk-through new home inspections, we break the inspection into two parts.
Part 1: “Fit and Finish” (Unique to Inspections by Bob!)
- Scratches on Counters, cabinets and Fixtures
- Scratches & Dents on appliances
- Scratches and gouges in Hardwood floors
- Paint on Carpets
- Paint on Hardwood Floors
- Trim paint (gloss) on Wall (flat)
- Unpainted sections
- Scratched Glass
- Crooked Muntins on Windows
- Windows that don’t line up
- Crooked Fixtures
- Visible carpet seams
- Exposed nails in Cabinets & Closets
- Floor Squeaks
- Crooked switches & outlets
- Missing trim
- We mark switched outlets in rooms
Part 2: Structural, Safety and other traditional Home Inspection Items
- Damaged Weather Stripping on doors
- Doors that don’t latch or operate smoothly
- Windows that don’t operate smoothly
- Garage doors that are unbalanced or unsafe
- Garage door openers that don’t operate safely
- Gap & Holes in the exterior siding
- Cracked foundations
- Untreated lumber used below grade
- Exterior Air Conditioning units installed crooked
- Exterior Air Conditioning units installed too close to each other or otherwise blocked airflow
- Safety Disconnects placed improperly
- Loose or unusable Hose faucets
- Improper grading
- Unsafe maintenance conditions for attic HVAC units
- Downspouts and Sump pump outlets draining back to the foundation
- Missing Shingles
- Missing or damaged flashing
- Lumber & Debris left on roof
- Improperly installed appliances
- Water temperatures set dangerously hot
- Missing GFCI protection
- Cracked, damaged or cut roof trusses
- Unsecured Beams or support posts
- Unsupported beams
- Improperly bundled wiring
- Missing insulation
- Insulation where it doesn’t belong
- Improperly installed insulation
- Plumbing leaks (Water and waste)
- Gas leaks
- Open Electrical boxes
- Recalled Electrical devices
- Burn marks in Electrical Panel
- Mis-wired outlets
- Damaged Furnaces water heaters
- Contaminated furnaces
- Insufficient clearances for flues
- Improperly installed appliances
- Unconnected furnace ducting
- Unconnected bath fan vents
- Excessively long dryer duct runs
- Disconnected dryer ducts
- Damaged appliances
- Sump pump pits full of construction debris
- Flood damage
- Gaps in Stair railings
- Missing stair hand rails or railings
- Broken Smoke detectors
- Broken fireplaces
- Hot/Cold water reversed at fixtures
- Improper light fixtures used in/near showers & Tubs
- Pull down attic stairs installed with trim nails
Does it matter who the builder is?
Not really. All builders have the same pool of subcontractors to pull from. The house may be larger, have more options and trim, yet it is still built by the same subcontractor who also works on the inexpensive townhouses at the other end of the development. There are a few truly custom home builders out there who build 2-3 houses per year who have their own crews, but most large builders are working on 35-45 houses at a time, sometimes with multiple locations and multiple supervisors, each working that number of houses.
Do builders like Home Inspectors?
It is a love/hate relationship. They know that we help them build a better house by bringing another set of trained eyes to the house, and that a better house gets them better reviews & ratings and that means a better bonus in the end. However, in the short term we make them look bad and they have to scramble to fix all of the things we find so that the house can close on time.
Is there anything that can make things go smoother?
Ideally we would like to get into the house several days prior to your final closing walk-through. The house needs to be “Ready to Walk” at that time with everything turned on, installed, cleaned and prepped. They could have the walk-through early if everything went well. This would give the builder time to calmly correct anything (everything) that we find, even if it is substantial. There are a few builders that work this way, but the majority are still painting and installing things the morning we are supposed to be there.
How long does a final walk-through new home inspection take?
Because the house is empty, clean and supposedly in good working order, the regular (traditional) inspection should go very quickly. We use the time that is saved to do our “fit and finish” inspection. We typically take about an hour per 1,000 sq. ft. and then about 30-34 minutes for write-up and discussion. On large houses, that means we can be there for an entire day. A house that “has issues” can take significantly more time to document and discuss.
What types of things do you find?
Please visit our NEW HOME Hall of shame for pictures of some of the things we have found in new homes that really shouldn’t be.