Learn about the most common things home inspectors can miss that you can get stuck having to repair, even with new construction or homes built recently.
Is that new home really your dream palace or a complete nightmare and financial disaster? Just because a home looks modern or even was just built, doesn’t mean it’s in great shape. Here are some of the most common problems new homeowners encounter, even in newer homes, that you don’t want to inherit when purchasing a property:
- Foundation problems. Most of north central Texas sits on clay soil. Clay gets very tough when it hardens, and it can push on your foundation walls, causing cracks and weakening your foundation. If your home inspector misses the signs of a cracking foundation, which does happen, you can be paying another $10,000 or much more to have the foundation repaired right off the bat. If you wait to repair foundation issues, they just get worse and cost you more money. Not repairing foundation problems can cause serious structural issues in your home and can damage your plumbing and roof.
- Roof leaks. Did you know most home inspectors in Dallas do not actually physically go up on the roof to inspect it for leaks? Generally, they’ll look from the ground with binoculars or look out from higher windows at the shingles. They’re looking for missing shingles and nails, and even though they’re missing, they might or might not actually be causing leaks. The thing about leaks is that even if you know you have one, it can take a few trips for your contractor to actually get it fixed. You could end up paying a couple thousand bucks or more to have the leak repaired before all is said and done.
- Non-working appliances. Imagine if, while searching for a new home, you found the one you wanted and negotiated the purchase of the appliances with the seller. Then, you start up the washer…and it dies right away. Home inspectors simply run every major appliance through a cycle or two to confirm they’re working before turning them off. This isn’t a full diagnostic of the appliance, however. So, the appliances could appear to be working when they’re inspected, but then die not long after you move into the home. And, the seller would not have any responsibility for replacing them.
- Damaged siding and windows. Did you know most real estate contracts obligate the seller to have the major systems, like the plumbing and electrical system, inspected and sold before they actually make the sale? That’s true, but at the same time, they often don’t require the siding and windows to be inspected and repaired. If you purchase the home and are unaware of these problems for years, guess who gets to pay for the fix when it finally gets made? And, it could also not be very cheap, costing a few thousand or more, depending on the number of windows and amount of siding damaged.
- Water damage and leaks. These are actually pretty easy to cover over. Sellers will actually just paint over them to conceal the visible damage. If you check the walls for peculiar painting patterns and also especially inspect the areas near pipes where water damage is most likely to occur, you can get away from experiencing this problem.
- HVAC problems. If you run your AC in extreme cold or your furnace in extreme heat, you can actually seriously damage the systems. Many inspectors are scared because they don’t want to be held responsible for causing this damage, so they don’t run either system long enough to determine if they’re really in good shape. So, they could appear to be working fine just like your other major appliances, and then they end up failing a year or two after you move into your home.
Another problem you can experience with your AC system is that it’s the wrong tonnage for the size of your home. In practical terms, this means your AC runs grossly inefficiently, costing you a fair amount of money over the long-term.
- Sewers and utility lines.This one’s pretty rare, but it has happened before. Even new homes sometimes aren’t hooked up to the local sewer system. It costs a few thousand dollars to get connected to the local sewer system if that’s not already the case for your home.
- Loose fireplace bricks and mortar.This one can get missed fairly easily. To the untrained eye, they don’t look like a big deal. However, they are a problem that needs to be fixed, and it can easily cost around $1000 or so to have the job done.
The Most Important Lesson to Keep in Mind: Have New Construction Inspected
These are some of the more common things home inspectors can miss, and that you can get stuck having to fix. Even if you are having a new home built, or the home was built within the last 3-5 years, it can still have serious problems that are costly to repair.
You can even walk into a problem house that passes all city and county ordinances and building inspections. In most cases, this should catch the majority of the problems a new home could have. However, an experienced home inspector is really the last line of defense between you and purchasing a home rife with problems.
At Stonebriar Property Inspections, we perform thorough 600-point inspections and give you 60-80 digital images. And these inspections are backed by more than 25 years of experience.
Even if you hire a home inspector, you can still buy what seems to be a great home, but is really a money pit. The key is hiring an experienced one that does highly detailed inspections. Keith, our inspector, has worked in home inspections and construction for more than 25 years and has seen it happen many times.
For one of the most thorough home inspections in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, which covers more than 600 different points, and for the peace of mind that comes from an accurate understanding of the true condition of a property, call us at (214) 923-7304.