New Construction Inspections: What to Expect
Beyond the “Blue-Tape Special”
A passionate and hilarious client of ours called one day and said he needed an inspection for a new home; and “I don’t mean a blue-tape special,” he declared.
He was referring to the blue painter’s tape construction teams use to mark imperfections and/or defects that need repair before closing.
This client was a member of the construction community, and very familiar with housing in South Florida. He was purchasing a beautiful home by one of the nation’s top builders, and he needed an extra, impartial eye to report the necessary defects. After we talked through our process, we scheduled his initial inspection along with his Builder Warranty/Anniversary Inspection.
With new developments spanning every direction in Palm Beach County, for example: Arden (Loxahatchee/Wellington), Dakota and The Bridges (Delray/Boca), Palm Meadows (Boynton), and Alton (Palm Beach Gardens) combined with low interest rates, the recipe looks promising for buyers.
According to recent stats from Freddie Mac (sited by the RAPB), the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.02% in July 2020, down from the 3.77% averaged during July 2019.
It’s important to understand—with a new or old house—inspectors will find issues. We thought it helpful to discuss what to expect during these new property inspections along with the Builder Warranty/Anniversary Inspections.
Depending on the builder, initial inspections will typically happen one week prior to closing or the week of closing. The larger, more commercialized builders (Lennar or GL Homes) will dictate the date/time for your inspection. Inspectors’ licensing, insurance, and a Policies and Procedures Agreement is required.
Custom, luxury builders (Marc Julien Homes or Sciame Homes) typically require the same credentials, but the inspections happen the week of closing or the day before closing.
No matter which builder is constructing your home, the inspection restrictions are the same: Third-party inspectors are prohibited to walk the roof, crawl the attic space, or remove the electrical panel cover. We use a drone and infrared cameras to work around these limitations.
We also discover issues that—if left unaddressed—could potentially cause major problems or safety issues down the road for the homeowner. Please keep in mind, we are not code inspectors; but we can highlight concerns that should be brought to the builder’s attention—so come the 10th or 11th month inspection, these items have not manifested into a huge problem.
Sufficient insulation is essential here in South Florida. The heat and sun can be brutal on homes inside creating a waste of energy and outside as the house structure settles. Although we are prohibited from crawling the entire attic space, we are allowed to access the attic and examine a 360-degree view of some crucial components. Below is an example of poor insulation and a damaged roof truss in a new home.
Cracked roof tiles are also common. Although their function is primarily cosmetic, the clay, concrete, or slate tiles protect the roof’s membrane. The roof’s integrity can be greatly compromised by rain, animals, or wind if loose or cracked tiles are not remedied. [Examples Below]
While the blue painter’s tape is helpful to notate cosmetic issues for the buyer, our reports are extensive with maintenance tips, photos, and documentation so you have a clear perspective of your investment.
If an initial inspection is out of your budget or not of concern, then a “Builder Warranty” or “Anniversary Inspection” at the 10th or 11th month of occupancy may be your preferred inspection method. Most builders provide a one-year structural warranty on homes. With that much time acquainting yourself to all the groves, nooks and crannies of the house, you may already have your own punch list to investigate during your inspection.
With IMPACT Home Inspections, we can help answer your questions and point you in the right direction to addressing issues with the builder and their vendors. To give you an example: a bathroom shower stall may have up to three different contractors that put the shower stall together. To the builder’s credit, it definitely takes time to coordinate these re-visits and schedule proper fixes—so be sure to give yourself ample time to submit your inspection report to your sales representative or the work-order ticket system online.
A new home, in any shape or form, is something to celebrate—especially during this pandemic. We are here for your questions and inspection services. Please give us a call at 561.444.8670 or email us at Info@ImpactHomeInspections.com.