2023 New Tips From an Inspector When Buying a New Home

The last time I talked about new homes I started off with:  It’s been a while since I posted about buying a new home and I think it is good to remind readers, both realtors and buyers about the reasons you want a new home inspection.

What? You say. It’s a new house nothing can be broken yet or worn out yet. All systems go, right!?

Well, yes and no.

Its still the same in some ways and different in others.

Windows and doors not level

Like before, you have a high possibility that nothing will be broken and / or wore out yet.  But there are things you should think about and be aware of even in this new 2023 market.

A new home is still  built by a builder who did not have to be licensed to build a house. The tradespeople involved with building the house should have a license but even that is not a given. Especially in large scale developments. More apprentices and junior workers are going to do more of the work. This means there will be more chances that a mistake has been made or something was not constructed correctly. This was true in 2019 and still is true.

The builders are still employing weak QA teams they are calling inspectors when they usually aren’t licensed as required by the State of Texas. They are still only focused on the little stuff that wont hurt the builders profit.

Flooring poorly installed

But things have changed. But we just went through a pandemic, a feeding frenzy with investors usually beating out first time buyers and those who just want a place to live. During this time builders have treated buyers like they were in their way and have even told buyers to not make trouble cause there are more buyers waiting….if you were there you know….but now things are different and changing as I write this.

Builders no longer have folks lined up to buy. They are increasing Realtor fees and discounting. Markets change.

Some high production builders have actually improved quality. I know after the last two years we were surprised but its there. But many are still trimming costs and quality as they try and push through the hangover from the last two years of nonstop buying.

So there are still things to watch out for. We have seen windows that are way off level. We had to make sure all inspectors started checking windows and sills for level…It used to be a given. Not any more.

Grading around houses still are showing problems and even where city inspectors have signed off buyers are seeing pools of water two weeks after the sale.

Grading issues

We are finding more sinks that are not properly sealed against counters. And we are finding counters with seams that are unprofessionally put together and can catch food.

Speaking of kitchens, gas leaks seem to be coming back this year around ovens.

Recently we found plumbing leaks that occurred during the build cause ceiling to crack where it had dried.

We inspected a new home for a retiree that had a garage that was now falling forward toward the street. Builder said it was fine, QA said it was normal to have a 3/4 inch crack in the wall. We called in engineers to echo our remarks that the builder needed to fix it.

Lastly, roofs are showing up again that have been installed incorrectly. Missing nails, underlayment installed wrong, flashing missing.

So much to add but these are a few issues.

Its a new year, prices in our view have softened even as interest rates have gone up. But problems with new homes are still there.

General build issues

Which is why we invite you to call us when you are building. We can inspect before the pour the foundation, before they close the drywall and at the final inspection. That way you know you have done the most possible to ensure everyone did a good job on the place you call home. See you soon.

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