New Construction Home Inspection - Do I really need one?

Dated: May 8 2023

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New Construction

When purchasing a new home, it's important to understand the warranty and inspection process. Builders of new homes are required to warrant their work for a specified period, but defects that manifest themselves after the warranty expires become the responsibility of the buyer/owner. Therefore, it's important to have safeguards in place to protect yourself from unexpected repair expenses.

Municipal inspections are generally required during different stages of residential construction to ensure the life, health, safety, and welfare of the public. However, the ultimate responsibility for building to code belongs to the builder, even if the municipal inspector misses something. Therefore, it's advisable to hire your own inspector for periodic inspections during the different phases of construction.

There are four basic stages of residential construction:

  1. Foundation Stage - This stage begins with excavation, footings, foundation walls or slab, waterproofing, backfill, compaction, and underground rough plumbing and electricity. Municipal inspections are done prior to pouring the foundation while items are visible.

  2. Framing Stage - This stage includes the wood or steel framing, exterior walls and roof sheathing, exterior trim and siding, windows, doors, and roofing. Depending on the municipality, there could be inspections of the rough framing separate from the roofing.

  3. Rough-In Stage - Next in this stage comes rough plumbing including water, waste, and vent piping, rough electrical, rough mechanical, ductwork, wiring, and electrical panel installation. Municipalities will usually inspect plumbing and electrical separately.

  4. Finishing Stage - The wall insulation and drywall installation are done and inspected depending on the municipality before tape and texturing are done. The final stage of construction includes flooring, cabinets, millwork, countertops, tile, mirrors, electrical trim, plumbing trim, and mechanical. Some builders will not install appliances and HVAC until the last stage to protect against theft. Municipal inspections are made in the final electric, plumbing, and mechanical. A "Final Inspection" is done after all the periodic inspections have been completed and passed.

To protect yourself from unexpected repair expenses, you can negotiate a home warranty with the builder or purchase one yourself. A home warranty shifts the liability to the warranty or service contract company, but it has a time limit on it. To continue the coverage, the buyer/owner will have to renew it by paying an additional annual premium.

When hiring an inspector for new construction, ask at what stages they inspect. A typical new construction inspection might be at the end of the foundation stage, another at the end of the framing and rough plumbing, electrical, and mechanical, and the final inspection after the home is completed. It's important to include a provision in the sales contract that allows you to hire your own inspector for periodic inspections, and your agent can assist you with negotiating any issues that arise because of the inspections. If you are unsure about which home inspectors and help, we can provide you with a few that we have worked with before that also do new construction inspections.

Finally, it's important to have your Knoxville Living agent accompany you to the models so they will be registered as your agent. This extra level of protection ensures that your agent can assist you throughout the buying process and help you negotiate any issues that arise.

Knoxville Living Group at NextHome Makers City is a concierge-level real estate firm that excels at helping you every step of the way throughout the home-buying process. Give us a call today.

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Deanna Mendenhall-Miller

Deanna graduated from the University of Tennessee, where she was a member of both the Equestrian and Horse Judging teams. Following graduation, Deanna joined a local restaurant company and worked as p....

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