Whether you purchased a turnkey construction in a new neighborhood or worked with an architect on a custom home, new construction is appealing. You get to sweep into a pristine home, and new construction seems to come with the promise of carefree living with no worries about the issues found in older homes. That may not be the case!
No house is perfect. Whether these are due to builder errors, bad quality materials, or just where the house is situated on the property, the truth is that new construction can have defects.
Every good builder knows that a house needs to live through a full year of seasonal change before it’s done. That’s because changes in the weather can reveal — or cause — all sorts of issues that may not have been apparent when the keys were first handed over to you. This is why most builders offer a one-year warranty on their new construction homes. They want to make sure the homes they build are solid, and they know they may need to come back to remedy an issue within that first year.
Now that you have been in your new home for almost a year, the clock is ticking on that one-year builder warranty. After the first anniversary, you give up almost any chance you have of getting your builder to correct any issues you may have. A Home Inspection is designed so you can give your builder a written report with a list of defects if any are noted. Once your builder is put on notice about these problems the builder has no choice but to correct or address the defects. The key is putting them on notice with the report before your new home's first anniversary date. A home inspector will generally inspect readily visible structural elements and major systems of the home. Items that will typically be included in an inspection are:
Framing (structure) This also includes the exterior cladding.
Roof and attic
Foundation (basements, slab foundations, crawl space, etc)
Grading of soil (drainage around the home)
Doors & windows
Garage & garage doors
Heating and air conditioning systems
It is important to know that there are several areas and conditions that builders often exclude from the one-year warranty. Common exclusions are:
Damage caused by neglect: Homeowners need to be vigilant about performing adequate maintenance, even on new construction. Things like clearing gutters, eradicating pests, maintaining ventilation, and trimming foundation plants are crucial to keeping your home in good shape. Some builders may provide a list of what’s expected on your end.
Damage caused by outside forces: This type of damage could be caused by animals, people, or events considered “acts of God,” like wind damage or flooding. This also includes damage caused by contractors you hire to work on your home after construction is completed.
Some deterioration of building materials: General wear and tear that falls within normal levels won’t be covered. This could include shrinkage or other changes that fall within industry standards or normal settling and soil movement.
Home appliances: Consumer products like appliances or other equipment generally aren’t covered. On the bright side, these often have their warranties, which you should be provided by the builder upon the sale of the house.
To schedule your 11-month warranty inspection, you’ll need to hire a Certified Professional Home Inspector. If you don’t see a warranty inspection on their list of services, just ask if they do that type of inspection. Finding defects in your newly constructed home within the first year can save you from a financial blow and heartache.
Don’t let the time run out on your warranty before you get everything corrected. You can schedule your Warranty Inspection anytime. An industry recommendation is to have one performed between the 10th to the 11th month of ownership. We even have homeowners that schedule a warranty inspection months in advance so that it will not be forgotten.
John Schuler, Certified Professional Home Inspector
J & H Home Inspections, LLC located in Little River, SC