It’s tempting to think that brand new homes (like brand new cars, or brand new appliances) are unlikely to have any problems. Unfortunately, this is just not the case! And some of these problems can be all too easy to hide once the drywall is up…unless you as the homeowner do your due diligence to ensure that building standards are being upheld, and that no corners have been cut.
With that said, here are four reasons why you should NOT pass on a pre-drywall inspection:
For those of you who have bought new construction before…we’re guessing this won’t be news to you! 😉 If this is your first new build, sorry to be bursting any bubbles. 😬
So now let’s go into a little more depth on each of the above four reasons:
Nobody’s perfect (no surprises there we’re sure!), and yes that applies to the people building your house! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect that all standards and construction best practices be upheld; it just means that you should expect for there to be issues / mistakes / fixes needed. And sometimes mistakes on the part of those building your house can be significant!
Homes and entire developments are being built really fast
We’ve had countless clients share how surprised they were each time they visited the site of their future home to see the speed with which empty streets turned into rows of framed houses. Everyone is trying to meet a deadline. From Project Managers to all the various subcontractors, everyone is buzzing around trying to finish their job…mistakes (noticed, and unnoticed) are going to happen. You want to make sure that the unnoticed mistakes get noticed, and that the noticed mistakes get sufficiently addressed!
"My home is a new build...do I really need a Pre-Drywall inspection?" YES.
Quality of construction can vary widely
One of the most common questions we’re asked during a home inspection is whether so-and-so builder is, in our experience, a quality builder or not. And any time I give an answer (based on my experiences with various builders) I always make a point to explain that quality of construction has as much to do with all the individual “subs” (subcontractors) who work on the particular home, as it has to do with the builder. Competencies and experiences with different products, building materials and methods can look much different depending on the team of people working on the home. Make sure you account for this by hiring a qualified home inspector who has the NRS (New Residential Structures) specialty.
Once the drywall is up, certain issues will no longer be visible to you
A normal home inspection (once construction has been completed) will not consider most of the items inspected during the Pre-Drywall inspection, because they’ll be covered up! Included in this are various safety / fire-related requirements, potential energy-loss issues, much of the electrical system, and–if the home will have a finished basement–portions of the foundation wall. This is a unique look at your home you won’t get again!
More and more homebuyers of new construction are recognizing the importance of the pre-drywall inspection, and these four reasons above are a big reason why!
But before wrapping up, here’s one more thing we hear often from homebuyers who are new to the process:
"My builder says the county or city already inspects the home before the drywall goes up... do I really need to hire a private home inspector?"
Yes, it’s true (and a good thing!) that county or city inspectors are involved. Certain inspections are indeed required to be passed before continuing or completing construction. However, these inspectors typically look at 10-20 home sites in a single day, and due to the demands of their job are therefore only able to spend 10-15 minutes inspecting your home. Some homes have been “signed off” in as little as 2-3 minutes! In contrast, a quality private home inspector will spend a good couple of hours (or more) in one home, depending on size and other factors.
So if you’re buying New Construction…don’t pass on the Pre-Drywall inspection!