Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


It is new construction---why would I need an inspection?

To answer the title's question, I wish I could say, “Just because.”

I know that is not going to convince anyone though, so I will give some examples of why EVERY home needs an inspection in the context of a real estate transaction--even new construction.

While I agree the number of serious issues likely to be found in the context of the inspection of a brand new home goes down, how many “little things” would it take to equal the cost of an inspection? Even the most expensive home inspector’s fee will likely be well below the cost of a few minor things and sometimes considerably less.

On a recent inspection, where the client opted to not have a purchase inspection done, all I can say is they were mighty glad they got the one year warranty inspection done. With the builder still in business, some of the issue will now hopefully still be able to get resolved.

There were a few things I would consider cosmetic but for this discussion I will only discuss the things that will clearly add up to considerably more than the cost of the inspection--if the builder was not in the picture.

The first thing discovered was that the vent cap for the high efficiency furnace was plumbed backwards. Instead of the exhaust blasting away from the house it was instead directed toward the siding, as the exhaust came out the area where the air intake was supposed to be.

I noticed a slight amount of rusting of the fasteners of the cap (circled in red) and I would not have anticipated that much rusting in eleven months---especially on the non-weather side of the home. Firing up the IR Camera, it became immediately clear the cap was plumbed backwards.


The white/yellow area around the cap is the exhaust gases venting agains the siding.

Plumbed backwards

The next significant issue was the 4 inches of water in much of the crawl space. This might be quite an expensive fix depending on what is necessary---including possible installation of a sump pump system.

There was also no pan under the water heater, the roof metal drip edge was missing in one location and on top of the roof underlayment everywhere else, and the blower door test results were 25% higher than they should have been.

Missing drip edge

All of these things would likely have been discovered had an actual inspection been done, but what if the one year warranty inspection had not been done?

I am by no means the least expensive home inspector in my area, and I have never not easily found at least the cost of the inspection in a new construction home.

Getting a thorough home inspection done is part of due diligence.

It should not be taken lightly.

Just because.


Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Comment balloon 41 commentsCharles Buell • May 29 2016 02:30PM


Excellent examples of just a few of the things builders can do wrong - new construction is not exempt for poor workmanship and mistakes.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 4 years ago

New construction or resale, buyers should not close without using the services of a local reputable home inspector.

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 4 years ago

Charles, the time to hire you is just before the drywall goes up and then again for the walk-through.  And those infrared cameras are just magic!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 4 years ago

We all tll buyers about the importance of a home inspection in new housing, but some just don't want to listen. Builders, or their crews, make mistakes, too!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I AGREE. Working on another new construction sale now and I can't stress enough the importance of a home inspection whether it is new or not.

Posted by Rose Mary Justice, Synergy Realty Pros (Synergy Realty Pros) over 4 years ago

I sell mostly new construction to out of state investors. besides not being here at the finish, I inform that despite the fact this is "new construction" it was also "man made" get an inspection.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 4 years ago

It is a GREAT idea to always have a home inspected. New, used or other.

Posted by David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor, Your local Expert (Keller Williams Realty Phoenix) over 4 years ago

Charles, I've had every new construction home I've ever sold inspected and it's been worth it every time. Builders are human, they miss things that may not pop up as issues for years, but if the builder is gone or the warranty is up, the home owner can be out of luck.  Great post!


Posted by Dan Tabit (Keller Williams Bellevue) over 4 years ago

Safety can't really ever be overstated. I just don't understand the minds of some people!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 4 years ago

It's totally worth it without any question or doubt in my mind whatsoever. no matter the circumstance

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 4 years ago

Again, I'm sorry for the lack punctuation on some of these responses with my phone I keep trying to get all of these comments

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 4 years ago

New homes need adjustment, things settle, are not just dialed in, adjusted so. Home inspectors in small rural markets are not the norm. The buyer's dad is a carpenter, Uncle Bob a plumber, the first cousin an electrician so bring in the trades and a thorough turn your head and cough happens. 

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 4 years ago

Another excellent example of why ALL home purchases should include an inspection. New homes can have issues, as can existing.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) over 4 years ago

Interesting.  I have had the improperly-vented high efficiency furnace exhaust twice in the last two months!  Must be something in the water.  Maybe it's in the crawl space water.

You did taste that crawl space water to make sure, right?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago


I tell my clients that humans built the home and that humans can make mistakes, especially if the home was built quickly.  Home inspections are ALWAYS a good idea, no matter if the structure is brand new , renovated, or older.


Posted by Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker, The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around (Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd.) over 4 years ago

Good points because the builder can be tied to the quality of new construction.

Posted by Gloria Laughton Allston, Realtor(NJ)/Broker(NY) (COLDWELL BANKER RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE) over 4 years ago

New construction doesn't build, inspect or correct itself just because it is new

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago

I've been selling new construction a long time and your blog is absolutely correct.
I insist that all my clients get an independent inspection on the property or sign a waiver, otherwise the only inspection that gets done is the builder walk-through.
I think because they are the builder, they're blind to their own mistakes much of the time and several of these mistakes the common man's not going to notice.

Posted by Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets, & Host of Postcards From Success Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722) over 4 years ago

Most builders in my area will NOT permit an inspection - or if they do, they will only correct those things which may be significan enough to injure life or limb.  Most difficult for buyers having to depend on the builder or the town inspectors.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

Yes, ABSOLUTELY ! New Constructions does not always mean a quality building process. Some inspectors here offer a 3 stage inspection, pre-slab pour to make sure all the plumbing & electrical and concrete tie downs are done correctly. At rough in after frameing is completed and a final, after construction is mostly completed and just before closing. With the information from these inpsections, problems are addressed before it is too late to fix some & keeps the Builders honest in their quality control.

Posted by Clay R. Seay (Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage) over 4 years ago

Mistakes get made and the local government building inspectors do not always catch them. Best to pay a few hundred dollars to your own inspector and give you peace of mind.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 4 years ago

People don't realize or think about the fact that the "Builder" is not the one that built your home. It is built by sub contractors, could be as many as a hundred people working on your home during the construction process... none of which you know. Still want to skip that new construction inspection?

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

Yes...on average...a newly constructed 4 bed/3 bath house...has 26 items that need to be addressed. Most of the items are relatively minor (caulk issues, missing door stops, leaks at shower head connections, etc.)...however...there is almost always at least one moderate to major item and/or safety related issue (improper roofing, loose handrails/guardrails, electrical wiring issues, plumbing leaks, etc.). Not paying a few hundred dollars...for a proper home inspection...on an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars...would be just plain dumb.

Posted by Bob Arena - happy to help :-) (Arena Home Inspections - #1 in USA !!!) over 4 years ago

I don't think any builder wants to build in problems for the buyer, it just happens. Getting the new construction home inspection is just common sense smart. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) over 4 years ago

So true, Charles. I agree with you 100% - get an inspection, it makes good sense. D

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 4 years ago

I have seen builders, or their subcontractors, miss installing insulation above a kitchen and a proper drain pipe from the garbage disposal (it just drained into the was a mess a few years later).

Posted by April Swenson, CRS and Managing Broker - Ocean Shores Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Ocean Shores Brokers) over 4 years ago

Oh how I encourage people to get a home inspection on new construction -- especially during the construction phases . . . framing, dry walling, electrical, etc. Just had a client get a home inspection done on her new construction AFTER she moved in.  YIKES . . . insulation wasn't blown in the attic (in some areas), side walkway was poured incorrectly, strairs leading down from home to backyard were not to code!  It is so important to get things done right the first time . . . or, in the alternative . . . have the inspection done right!!  New construction is no exception.  Great post Charlie -- and great inspection finds!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 4 years ago

The fact that Subs and crews change along with the fast pace these homes are built there are going to be some missed items. The local building department and private home inspectors can't see everything but an inspection from a good inspector is worth the money because often the few dollar easy fixes can add up to costly repairs later on. I'm shocked the blower door was so high. Do they not test the homes there?

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 4 years ago

Wow, that water issue looks like it could be an expensive fix. How did they now do that correctly and get a final inspection?

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago

Great points!!!

All of these things would likely have been discovered had an actual inspection been done, but what if the one year warranty inspection had not been done? Getting a thorough home inspection done is part of due diligence.

It should not be taken lightly.

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 4 years ago


Hello Charles.  I agree with you, a Home Inspection on New Construction is well worth the cost.  As a Veteran, I purchase a New Home with the VA Benefit in 1987.  I had an excellent Builder who takes great pride in his business, and personally walks through each house on a regular basis.  He does the walk through with every client, punch list in hand.  He is thorough, but I am sure he has had occasions when that Warranty served him well, as it does the buyer. The Builder pays for the 2-10 Warranty, which is a Ten year Warranty on top of the Builders’ Warranty.


My thought is, if VA and FHA require these warranties, even after their Home Inspectors have made multiple inspections: WHY would I want to chance a defect or oversight on a $200,000 investment even if Charles Buell personally inspected a property I planned to finance with a Conventional loan.




I strongly encourage EVERY BUYER to order a Home Inspection.  My Buyers DO!  I then, out of my commissions, purchase a Homebuyer’s Warranty for them.  In the past two years, twice those warranties paid for themselves within six months of closing.  HOME INSPECTIONS have been the PRIMARY REASON more clients have not needed to file claims.  NEW Construction is not immune to the knowing eye of the Inspector.


Most everyone recognizes the wisdom of maintaining insurance on their automobile, regardless of price.  They know mistakes can be far more costly on a home purchase.  The Home Inspector, like their REALTOR® has a fiduciary responsibility to look out for the clients’ interest.


Charles, thank you for your dedication to that which is right, and the valuable advice you provide.






Fred Cope,


Reliant Realty ERA Powered


Nashville, TN


Posted by Fred Cope, Looking For Homes With A Smile (Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN) over 4 years ago

IMO new construction is as likely to have defects than older - you never know what corners were cut during contstruction until you have the inspection!

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Charles Buell "but for this discussion I will only discuss the things that will clearly add up to considerably more than the cost of the inspection--if the builder was not in the picture."  Always get a new build inspected - and if starting from the ground up have a "phase" inspection.  Re-Blog!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty (Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area) over 4 years ago

Good morning Charles Buell ,

Well deserved featured post.  I'm a firm believer in inspections as the home is building built..especially before the sheet rock goes up and you can't see! Inspections are worth every penny spent.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) over 4 years ago

Hi Charles Buell Having lived in "New Construction" I can attest that new construction has more "issues" than existing, and some of them can be quite expensive.

Bill Roberts

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) over 4 years ago

I do lots of new construction and one thing I always recommend to my clients is three inspections -- one prior to drywall; one prior to buyers' final walk; and one before the first year warranty from the builder expires. Amazing what comes out of these inspections. I tell my clients it's cheap insurance. If things are found, they are fixed upfront and if not they can sleep knowing they've bought a well-built home.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) over 4 years ago

Charles Buell - in fact not just the inspection on new construction - it should be done at various stages of the construction.

(Bookmarked for my clients - thanks for sharing your expertise.)

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 4 years ago

Inspections help everyone involved sleep easier at night. Nice post!

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 4 years ago

Hi Charles - it still amazes me that in my area inspections on new homes are extremely uncommon. "It's brand new - what could be wrong?", right?

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Charles - As mentioned, checking good workmanship is not guaranteed because so many factors play into the equation including human error so due diligence is important even in new construction.   A few extra bucks for an inspection is worth the peace of mind.  Sometimes builders offer a one-year warranty on most repairs with subdivision developments.  


Posted by Cesar Bautista, Your Central Coast Area Realtor 805.264.1646 (Keller Williams Realty Central Coast ~ Pismo Beach) over 4 years ago

I am not sure why people think that new means perfect.  A new house is built by man who is, by nature, prone to imperfection!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 4 years ago