Should new homes be inspected?

Should new homes be inspected?

by Angie Hicks

Dear Angie: I’m purchasing a newly constructed home. Should I still have a home inspection done? – Lee A., Pasadena, Md.

Dear Lee: Short answer: yes, absolutely. A home inspection is an important step in the home buying process, whether the home is hundreds of years old or brand-new.

The inspector should examine the condition of the home’s foundation and structure; the exterior; the roof and attic; the interior; the plumbing; the insulation and all of the major electrical components, such as the heating and cooling system. If there are issues with your new home, a good home inspector can pinpoint those. And they should still be covered by the builder’s warranty.

Frequently, real estate agents will recommend a home inspector, but don’t accept a recommendation without doing your own research. Find an inspector who is not associated with anyone selling or buying the house. Contact at least three inspectors, interview them and check credentials and local reputation before you hire. Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation oversees home inspectors. Make sure your inspector holds a valid license. He or she could also be licensed for termite, lead and radon inspection.

During your interview process, tell the inspector you want to tag along. This gives you a chance to see any issues firsthand, and to learn about your home’s structure. If your inspector doesn’t allow you to do this, hire someone else. A typical inspection should cost between $200 and $400, depending on the type of inspection being done, the size of the home and other variables. A thorough home inspection should take at least two hours. If any of your prospects say they’ll get the job done faster than that, move on in your search.

Once the inspection is done, you should receive a clearly worded, detailed report – typically within 24 hours – that lists the condition of the home from top-to-bottom, inside and out, with recommendations from the inspector. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the report if you have them.

This is your opportunity to uncover serious problems before you buy the home. Don’t waste it.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a provider of reviews you can trust on contractors, doctors, dentists and other service professionals. More than 1 million consumers across the U.S. use Angie’s List to help make tough hiring decisions easier.

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