If you think it is hard to get your defective air bag replaced in your car, wait until you try to get the faulty stucco replaced on your new home. Thousands of homeowners have been trying for years! Will you be one of them?
If you are purchasing a new home in the greater Orlando or Jacksonville area, you have a resource to protect yourself against faulty construction. Let the professionals at Property360 inspect your Orlando or Jacksonville home.
We have over 30 years of experience in building and inspecting homes. We have proven and affordable programs to protect you against shoddy construction. Your risk is simply too great to ignore. Don’t be one of the thousands of homeowners who are living in a declining investment, who are unable to sell due to faulty stucco, leaking roofs, slab cracks, bad plumbing and mold. Don’t get stuck in a long term class action lawsuit against a builder. We know how to build a home and we know how to inspect new construction. We understand production building schedules and how and when a builder addresses quality reviews. For the most part, they work well but when they don’t, you suffer the consequences. Most builders will react favorably to notice of a defect while the home is in construction; what you need to understand is this is not generally the case after the home has closed. Often, the builder is out of the picture and you may find yourself dealing with a third party warranty provider.
Don’t let your new dream home become a money pit. You have the option of conducting phased inspections on your new home for your protection and peace of mind.
Buyers are often confused when purchasing a new home. While over 90% of realtors, Zillow, HUD, FHA and the VA recommend a qualified home inspection to buyers of existing homes, the industry has been slow to address problems in purchasing a new home – after all, don’t new homes have built-in, legally required, warranties? Yes, they do however buyers are learning there may be significant problems in new construction.The news reports of failing stucco or EIFS, moisture damage, faulty windows, poor soils, cracked slabs and builders who are reluctant to make repairs is commonplace. Declining home values in “problem neighborhoods” are easily documented on the internet. Informed buyers are nervous, and they should be.
You expect, when you purchase a new home, that the home is free of defects and if a problem is found, the builder will have it repaired immediately. Unfortunately, it rarely happens that way. Buyers also assume the repair will reflect the home in a “new condition”; again, it rarely happens that way. Builders may be obligated to make repairs but they are rarely obligated to “restore the home to a new or pristine condition”. Often, the builder is not responsible for any repairs as you have agreed to accept a third party warranty which relieves the builder from the repair process.
Builders do not want you to hire an independent inspector! In fact, they will discourage it and sometimes, they will deny access to the home by the inspector. Builders are known to demand excessive insurance coverage and complicated Named Additional Insured certificates from the inspector. Builders will fail to provide notice to the inspector for phased inspections such as concrete pours, pre-stucco inspections or roof installation. In short, the builder does not want your inspector to be there! What you should know, is the builder does not want you there either! In fact, they can deny access to you during construction.
Why don’t builders want you to hire an independent home inspector?
First, it is a fairly recent phenomenon in production home construction and builders have not adapted to this intrusion. Production builders compare your home purchase to buying a car – you select the make/model, but you don’t get to visit the factory while it is being built. While there is some merit to this analogy, we also know builders don’t issue recall notices when materials or components fail.
The use of home inspectors for due diligence protection in the “used” home market is naturally spreading into the new home market. While use of owner’s representatives on high value, custom homes is common, the lower fees available on lower value production homes was not attractive to inspectors who served that market. Although generally less qualified, home inspectors are developing inspection protocols to serve this market. This lack of experience is objectionable to many builders and on some points, we agree.
Home inspectors who do not have a background in homebuilding can be counterproductive and create chaos where none exists. Builders of production homes rely upon tight schedules, subcontractors, on-time material deliveries and they understand there will be a certain, but controllable, level of re-work in the process. Home inspectors who do not have experience in this process cause unnecessary alarm when they raise flags due to their inexperience in how production schedules work.
Some home inspectors focus on the wrong components or the right components at the wrong time in the schedule. Some home inspectors cite code when they do not have a working knowledge of the code or the local industry practice. The Building Official having local jurisdiction has authority to approve/disallow use of the state building code. If the inspector is not “up to speed” with the local code/practices, they can create distrust in the builder/buyer relationship and generally waste the builder’s time. Home inspectors are generally not authorized to “inspect code” and builders who know the local codes get very frustrated when home inspectors cause unnecessary concern. Many home inspectors use inspection templates created for inspecting re-sale homes and their reports may not be germane to new construction. Some enterprising home inspectors are providing reports which assign a “grade” to the home; we think this is foolish. After all, shouldn’t a new home always be an “A”?
While we work to protect the interest of the buyer, we also offer builders a unique opportunity to avoid issues, protect their homeowners and maintain their reputation. Show your buyers that you care about the product you are building and you care about the integrity of their home purchase. The single biggest problem with most builders is insufficient supervision. Superintendents are typically overstretched. We know most builders will not agree with this but that is our opinion based on many years of new home construction inspection. Builders rely heavily on subcontractors to manage their workforce but we rarely see trades with on-site supervision. Many subcontractors rely upon third tier, subcontract labor; meaning, the subcontractor subcontracts out the labor. They have materials drop shipped to the site and the contract labor has to make it work in order to get paid. A sub of a sub and many times the prime subcontractor has no real idea who is actually doing the work. Do you understand the lack of supervision issue we believe is present? Further, we find many site construction managers actually do not have a background in home building and in fact, they have never built a home. They are mostly schedulers.
While the plumber, electrician, HVAC, framing and roofing contractor is required to have their work inspected by the building department, most other work does not typically require an individual inspection. Wall claddings such as stucco, EIFS, stone/brick veneers or panel/board siding is not inspected beyond a cursory look, yet, we have a real problem with moisture intrusion in our new homes! Building department inspectors do not inspect finishes, check drainage, check for moisture/air intrusion, check the balance of the AC system, check finish elevations on floors or in short, go much beyond the basic plumbing/electric/roof system. In fact, they do not inspect the finished roof at all and neither does the builder. You should know, the local building inspector never goes on the roof and most of the time, neither does the builder.
So what does the builder check prior to “selling” you the house? Most builders do a perfunctory “walk thru” inspection where they look for cosmetic issues like missed paint, damaged tile/cabinets, etc. They rarely check the plumbing for leaks (I know because we find them often), make sure the water heater is functional, check the sprinklers, walk or inspect the roof, open the windows, check the AC for balance, run the dishwasher/microwave/oven, check electrical outlets or, in short, conduct a home inspection for your benefit.
If you think your builder has adequate supervision, is or will be responsive to your requests for repairs and is delivering a quality product, you don’t need us. There are some builders who meet this definition of quality and commitment and we applaud them. We generally know who they are and quite frankly, they are great to work with. They appreciate our Repair Addendum in our report and they are happy to receive notice of things they can fix before they become issues. If, on the other hand, you are not quite so sure about how your builder will protect your financial interest in the home, give us a call.
If you are a builder who wants to improve quality and address potential issues, we can also assist you with pre-sale inspections. We provide independent quality inspections for builders, provide QA checks on subcontractors, check for plan oversights and alert you to mishandling of materials. We also provide safety audits of subcontractors.