What I'm Seeing Now

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"You Don't Need a Home Inspection... II"

I am doing at least one new construction inspection every week, either pre-drywall or final walk through.  In every case, the line, "You don't need a home inspection" comes up. 

It starts with the sales agent representing the builder.  "You won't need a private home inspection.  We are putting our best supervisor on your house.  He is terrific.  He will catch everything."  You would not believe how often my clients tell me this one...

From there it continues with the supervisor.  "You know, I am on site every day.  I see everything that comes into and goes up in this house.  You won't need a private home inspector - you have me."  Okay, never mind the fact that on most new home construction the supervisor changes two or three times.  Does the one communicate with the other?  I can tell you they didn't on my house.

The supervisors are also saying, "This house gets inspected every day by me.  The county also does a number of inspections.  You won't need a private home inspection.  By the time he shows up the house has had dozens of inspections."

Lately I am getting calls from clients wanting a pre-drywall inspection even after having been told by their agent that since the builder and county do so many inspections they simply won't need to "waste" their money on a private home inspector.  I suspect that kind of advice is coming from agents because of the weak market and they want to control any outside variables that might impede the sale.  But I don't know...  The client's most common question?  "What stuff do you normally see wrong on a pre-drywall inspection?"

There is no answer to that question!

Every house is different.  What do I see a lot of?

  • Missing small sections of roof that the roofer was going to come back later for.
  • Interior nails used in outdoor applications.  I see this ALL THE TIME.  The nails in some cases are three weeks old and already rusting.  The key word in the term "interior nails" is the word "INTERIOR!!"  As they rust the wood will rot.  And night will follow day...
  • Improperly flashed windows and doors.  This sets them up to leak.  The leaking may or may not be discovered within the first year warranty period, but it will happen.
  • Faux stone that is glued directly to substrate - no vapor retarder, no mesh, no scratch coat, etc.  Soon thereafter the faux stone is already cracking, the mortar separating, the "stone" sounding loose when tapped on.  Water WILL get behind this product, and it WILL cause the substrate to swell, and it WILL leak more, and it WILL cause rot and mold - there are so many variables that can go wrong, you know Murphy will take over and something will go wrong.  The contractor's experience and ability is essential.  It is often not present - you CANNOT pick up good subcontractors at the 7-11 and expect quality work.  In my opinion, this faux stone will prove to be the next EIFS and in the long run will prove to be a BIG problem.
  • Insulation that is not stapled.  It WILL fall in the first year.  Rooms WILL be hot and cold.
  • Generally unprofessional work - particularly drywall and painting.

How is it possible that with the aforementioned "dozens of inspections" that I can go to a property and in a couple of hours find dozens of problems?

Here is an exchange from the other day --

Me - "You are using interior nails outside on the wood trim and guardrails."

Supervisor - "We have always done that."

Me - "There is a reason they are called interior nails.  They should only be used inside.  They are already rusting and will quickly cause rot.  Why don't you use stainless steel, galvanized or dipped nails?   They are made for outdoor applications."

Supervisor - "Dipped in what?"

I REST MY CASE, YOUR HONOR!

My recommendation:  Get a home inspection!  Find a couple you trust and refer them to your client.  Your client can decide which to use, but recommend the inspection!   On new construction I recommend two - pre-drywall and the final walk through.  Of those two, the pre-drywall might be the more important.  But DO NOT discount the final!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 14 commentsJay Markanich • December 28 2008 05:38AM

Comments

I agree 100% with you on new construction inspections. Inspections for every home are critical but I find that the ones on new home construction are even more important. I always recommend a pre-sheet rock and after sheetrock inspection. You can never be to safe in today's world of building.

Happy Holidays,

Randall Sandin, 843-209-9667, rsandin@carolinaone.com

http://www.charlestonpierpartners.com

 

Posted by Randall Sandin, 843-209-9667 - Search for Charleston SC Real Estate (Carolina One Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Randall - I really think that is the ticket.  And I am not selling...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Having designed our own home...and been the general contractors....there are toooo many "dips" out there not to have a home inspection....wish we were going to Virginia instead of Florida next month....we will see you sometime...I just know it !

kiss

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

Sally and David - I wish I was going to Florida next month INSTEAD of Virginia!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Hi Jay I just wrote a long response to your blog only to have it deleted by some glitch.

Suffice it to say I agree with you.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 9 years ago

Bummer James!  The gremlins are alive and well.  That has happened to me before also. 

Don't let the turkeys get you down... but post away - as an inspector, how could you disagree?!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, I especially like those special "chocolate dipped" exterior nails:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Charles - might be better than interior - that extra layer of fat!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Jay, I must confess I sometimes lick the chocolate off my nails:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 9 years ago

Yeah, but do you bite before you get to the center?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

In my experience, new contruction inspections have revealed MORE problems than on the average resale home.  I mean, the major things have likely been picked up and taken care of on most resales.  But new homes can be scary.   There was two story house that I visited and when you shut the french doors on the backside, the entire rear wall of the house, two stories up, would shake, and wobble, and rock the house.  SCARY.

It's ALWAYS in your clients best interest to inspect the house before they buy.  Period.  That's my take anyway.

Eric Lowery, Expert Skills for Real Estate Agents

Posted by Eric Lowery over 9 years ago

Eric - I say that to people all the time.  The reason there are more problems on new construction?  In a word, professionalism.  Or the lack thereof.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

Your my hero!  Last week I overheard a guy behind me in a booth telling his guest that a Home Inpsector was the biggest waste of money he had ever seen.  He paid $500 for a 1200 sq ft house and the guy didn't find anything.  First, who gets $500 for 1200 sq ft and what house has no issues?  I gave them both my card as I was leaving and said "I bet I would find something for a lot less than $500".  

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 9 years ago

Thanks Jack!  That is the kind of stuff that inspired my Golden Rule post.  Can you imagine a world where people thought the Golden Rule is important?  My feelings as to these supervisors, and/or subs, is simply this -- would you do that on your house?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 9 years ago

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