A home inspection explores the house’s major systems and overall structure
The average cost of a home inspection is $340; most buyers spend between $280–$400
A builder’s walk-through gives you the chance to ask questions and point out any problems
You’re this close to moving into the house you’ve patiently waited for over the last several months. But, there are a couple more things to do before move-in day. First, to protect your investment and ensure everything complies with building permits and is up to code, you’ll need to hire a home inspector. Next, you’ll want to schedule a builder’s walk-through session so that you can take a thorough look at every square foot of your new home. Learn more about what to expect from these two on-site meetings.
Two Big Reasons You Need a New Construction Home Inspection
You might think your local government’s inspectors should catch all of the house’s problems and building code lapses when they visit, but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you hire an independent local home inspector, they work only for you and aim to leave zero stones left unturned. Here’s how they can help ensure all of the boxes are checked on your new build.
1. Catch Mistakes Before They Turn Into Problems
Everyone makes a mistake now and then. For example, a contractor might have been working too quickly, or maybe there was a miscommunication between subcontractors. A hired home inspector has the expertise to find often-overlooked problems, including:
Evidence of mold
Poorly installed roofing
Incorrectly installed HVAC systems
2. An Inspection Protects You and Your Investment
Even with the builder's best intentions, every new home may have a mistake or two, and an inspection serves as additional quality assurance. An inspector can help you find any issues before signing off on the final builder walk-through. A new house inspection is standard and reputable builders should stand by their work and correct any problems. Plus, you’ll want to take care of any issues well before your home warranty expires.
What Happens During a New Construction Home Inspection
When an inspector comes to your new house for the inspection, they’ll spend two to four hours—depending on the size of your house—combing the structure for problems. They’ll take notes, measurements, and pictures and combine the information into a formal report that you’ll receive a few days after the home inspection.
After the inspector arrives, they’ll check these essential areas of your new home:
Foundation, basement, and structural components
Walls, ceilings, and floors
Windows and doors
Cost of a Home Inspection
The cost for a home inspection varies, starting at around $400 for a 2,000 square foot home. But most buyers spend between $280 and $400.
The Best Time to Get Your New Construction Inspection
You can have your house inspected at any point, but good timing is crucial because you don’t want to schedule an inspection so late that it delays your closing. But, it's also a smart idea to wait until your local government inspector has signed off on the current work.
Consider hiring your own inspector for a pre-drywall inspection and a second follow-up visit later. With separate visits, the inspector can review the electrical, plumbing, and framing work before the drywall goes up. When they return, they’ll inspect the rest of the house. Home inspectors bill differently, so ask yours if they charge separately for each visit or if it's one price for both looks.
What to Expect During a Builder’s Walk-Through Session
Compared to an official home inspection, your walk-through with the builder will feel less formal and is the perfect time to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable in your new home. Give yourself plenty of time—you’ll need more than your lunch break. This is, after all, not only your dream home; it’s also a significant and really important investment.
A Checklist System
The builder typically has a preprinted checklist to use during the walk-through. Or, if you’d prefer, you can source another version online. Use it to document every issue found, big and small. From a cracked foundation to cracks in your paint, this is the time to take notes on items like:
Doors and windows
Walls, ceilings, trim, and flooring
Sinks, toilets, and tubs
Driveway and walkway
Landscaping, hardscaping, and irrigation
Patio, deck, and porch
Roof and gutters
A Stack of Instruction Manuals
Since all of the appliances, heating units, water heater, and house components are new, you'll get a set of instructions for each. Bring a file folder (or three) to keep everything organized. This is also the best time to ask questions about a system or appliance you're unfamiliar with, like a convection oven or the air conditioning system.
Check the Electricity
Take time to turn all the lights on and off, start the appliances, and run the heater and air conditioning. It's better to uncover any necessary fixes sooner rather than later at an inconvenient time. For extra efficiency, you can buy an inexpensive electrical outlet tester at the hardware store and check all the outlets for connectivity during your walk-through.
Start Your Maintenance Schedule
You might feel like you have some time before you need to start regular maintenance because the house is new. But to stay in compliance with your home’s warranty, you’ll need to tackle maintenance chores according to the suggested schedule.
Schedule the One Year Visit, Before The Year Is Over
Your home warranty likely covers quality and materials for just one year, so it's important to schedule the builder visit well before the warranty ends. You never know what issues may come up as the house begins to settle.