New Construction Home Inspections
When you’ve just spent over $500,000 dollars building your home, it simply makes wise financial sense to hire a certified home inspector with building contractor chops in the Jacksonville area and beyond to inspect the home prior to closing. Property360 stands ready to assist in this exciting phase of the building process. Move in with confidence by contacting us at (904) 606-1570, or request an inspection now. We serve Jacksonville, Orlando, and the surrounding areas in Florida.
The Property360 Difference
At Property360, we know residential building construction, and we know building codes. We understand production scheduling, and we understand the construction sequence. All of these are critical to a successful new home construction inspection. To find out more about our qualifications, please see our About Property360 page.
Since 1986, we’ve been in the inspection business in Jacksonville, FL and beyond. Keep in mind that we do not recommend, nor do we provide, phased inspections on production homes. We have found that builders of production homes typically will not make changes. In our experience, these are the people who need to hire an inspector.
- Clients who are working with an architect and builder to construct a semi-custom or totally custom home are the ones who should schedule a new construction inspection. These homes start at the price point of $600,000 to $800,000 and go up from there.
- Those whose homes have a complex roof design, meaning future repairs may be costly.
- If you are spending a considerable amount of money on upgraded finishes such as flooring, tile, trim, cabinets, and so on, invest in an inspection. You are paying for a quality job and should expect to receive more than a production finish.
- You are concerned about finish floor elevations, floorplan layout, placement of door/window openings, and so on. In short, these are not builder plan homes.
- Your home will have stucco or masonry veneer wall cladding.
Many new construction buyers do not think about hiring an inspector to protect them. After all, the home is new! It’s also been inspected by the local building department, and the builder is providing a one-year warranty before they turn homeowners over to a 3rd-party warranty. What else could be needed? While all this is true, many buyers do not understand the following facts:
- The building department does not inspect for workmanship or quality.
- The building department does not go onto the roof or into the attic.
- The building department does not test the HVAC system.
- The building department does not inspect or monitor the installation of stucco or other wall cladding systems. They only inspect the rough window openings.
- The building department does not test operation of components such as windows, doors, fans, controls, appliances, plumbing or light fixtures.
- The building department does not check finish floor elevations.
- The building department does not check paint finishes.
- The building department does not check gutters, downspouts, or drainage of drives or lot grading.
- The building department checks certain major components only for compliance to building codes.
Finally, keep these things in mind:
- You cannot sue the building department for defects, even if they passed the home.
- Building code is the minimum standard. It deals with safety — not quality.
- Builders do not like having an independent inspector on the property. Some refuse to allow you to hire an independent inspector. If you plan to hire your own inspector, make sure this provision is included in your contract before you sign it.
"As a builder, I understand the reluctance of many builders to allow independent inspections. Unfortunately, there are a great number of inexperienced, barely qualified home inspectors who promote these inspections as a revenue source. They have no background in home building, do not understand the construction sequence nor the tolerances allowed to the builder. They create unnecessary drama and frustration. If you plan to hire an independent inspector, you should make sure you are hiring an inspector with proven building credentials. As a minimum, your inspector should hold a State General or Residential Building contractor license and, preferably, have a proven background in home building". William Chandler, CGC060389
Too many people hire an inspector for a new construction inspection without considering why they are hiring them or what they should be concerned with. They simply expect the inspector will find deficiencies that the builder will readily fix, and then they will be relieved of any latent/future problems. It doesn't work that way.
- Neither builders nor inspectors guarantee you won't have a future issue.
- Florida law provides you with some level of protection against latent defects up to ten years (although your right of recovery diminishes greatly after four years).
- Inspectors can't predict the future and their contract will disclaim any notion of that obligation.
- Homes require regular maintenance, and we find most homeowners fail to plan accordingly. As a minimum, you should budget at least $3,000/year for obsolescence and repairs on a new home. Your roof, windows, appliances, and HVAC system will need replacement sooner than you expect.
If you are building a custom or semi-custom home, and you need an independent inspector, we can assist you.
- Your home will be inspected by an inspector holding an ICC Residential Building Inspector certification, at minimum.
- Unless you have hired us for litigation (expert investigation), our phase inspections are designed to protect you while working with your builder for the benefit of all parties.
- Builders hire subcontract trades and when handled correctly, the builder is relieved to hear of deficient work before it becomes a major issue later.
- We have saved builders from expensive repairs or claims many times.
- We are experienced in inspections of all types including termite, mold, EIFS/Stucco inspections, commercial property assessments, and ADA surveys.
- Our reports are concise, easy to understand, and they reflect building code where needed.
- We are not alarmists, nor do we create issues where none are present. If the builder and their trades are doing a good job, we are happy to report it.
Once your new home is completed and you have been living in it for several months, don’t forget about an important milestone: the 11-month builder’s warranty inspection.
Could your new home really have hidden defects? Yes, it certainly could.
Many new home buyers fail to realize the importance of identifying problems within their home prior to the expiration of the first-year builder's warranty, especially if they had a pre-closing inspection. However, over the course of the first several months in a new home, the home settles and issues may become evident. What is covered and to what degree can be confusing and may require legal counsel; it's complicated.
What we can tell you is your rights of recovery against the original builder greatly diminish after the initial year of ownership. Most builders turn their warranty obligations over to an independent warranty/service provider on the one-year anniversary date and, yes, you agreed to it contractually. After the first year, you will be chasing the warranty company for repairs, as the builder is relieved from almost anything other than a lawsuit.
In general, your right of recovery, even for major structural issues, diminishes after the fourth year, and your personal responsibility increases. The builder may rely upon links to storm damage, obsolescence, improper maintenance or neglect in properly inspecting your home for evidence of damage. Yes, you could lose the claim if it can be shown you should have noticed an issue before it became a major issue.
Do you regularly check on your house? If so, do you record any physical evidence such as photos or notes? Most people don't. Did you have the home inspected before closing? While pre-closing inspections are gaining in popularity with buyers, and for good reason, most new home buyers do not hire a home inspector. It's new, right?
Next to proper termite prevention, having your home inspected for evidence of structural failure or moisture issues before the one-year builder's warranty expires is critical. Maybe the inspector won't find anything, but maybe he or she will. For a modest fee, you will have peace of mind, or you will have ammunition to force the builder to make proper repairs — before they turn you over to a warranty company. You won't like dealing with them.
Making the decision to hire a home inspector before your warranty expires is a wise choice. Now, you need to understand what qualifications the inspector should have.
- A general or builder’s contractor license.
- Verifiable experience in new home construction.
- A proven track record of assisting new home buyers with issues.
Do not accept any substitute for these qualifications. You don't need someone who will simply walk around taking pictures and then tell you to call an expert. You need someone who can advise you and someone who has higher credentials than the builder. We're that someone. Call us to discuss your one-year builder’s warranty inspection.
Take Care of Everything On Your List
Property360 knows there are many inspection companies out there. You don’t have to hire the most qualified inspector, but it helps! When you want the best, call us at (904) 606-1570, or request an inspection now. We serve Jacksonville, Orlando, and the surrounding areas of Florida including St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Fleming Island, Keystone Heights, Lake Butler, Lake City, Macclenny, and beyond.