When my partner first suggested we get a second inspector on our brand-new home, I scrunched up my nose and rolled my eyes. "You're being paranoid," I insisted, still running off the adrenaline that came with the thrill of owning our first home. We'd already had a four-hour long inspection with the builder that seemed adequately sufficient, and yet, he persisted.
After much back and forth, I acquiesced and told him if it was that important to him, he could arrange the whole thing himself — which was exactly what he did.
You can imagine my utter shock and dismay when several days after the subsequent inspection, we were handed a 64-page report listing nearly 100 different concerns, ranging from obvious, albeit inconsequential, items like broken tiles, to more alarming things such as an improperly installed roof.
New homebuyers can often get caught up by the perfection they see in show-homes that may boast upgraded features. I did too, but we needed to look beyond the glitz and glam.
Several of our windows and a side door were missing caulking. Although it wasn't an immediate concern with mild weather, once Mother Nature's glacial child came out to play for the season, the missing caulking would contribute to heat loss and, who likes paying those utility bills to begin with, particularly an unnecessarily super-high one?
Have you ever given a second thought to the foundation of your home? No? Same here. The inspector, on the other hand, had plenty to say. He said the foundation wrap, which improves water drainage around a house, was questionably installed, leaving it susceptible to basement leaks in the future.
Most buyers are looking for issues that are surface deep, and not factoring in what's lurking behind the walls or in the ceilings.
Mould is one of those words that immediately incites feelings of disgust. Yet if it's not in plain sight, we don't give it second thought because we're not actively looking. Say for instance when said mould makes an appearance under your basement stairs. If it weren't for the secondary inspection, we would have been none the wiser until it had consumed the entirety of the stair riser, or worse, made us seriously ill.
Hiring a second inspector for our new-build was an ideal way of protecting ourselves and our home.
It's important to note that while an inspection on any home, be it new construction or a resale, isn't mandated, it could save you a lot of money and heartache in the future. The once red-hot real estate market in Ontario had buyers foregoing inspections in order to compete with multiple offers in a seller's market. While this may have secured their dream home, it's ill-advised to submit an unconditional offer before you know what you're getting into. All new-home buyers contemplating hiring a second inspector should do so before their 30-day window or year-end submission is due.
Most buyers are looking for issues that are surface deep, and not factoring in what's lurking behind the walls or in the ceilings. An inspector will take the time to explain to you the extensive building codes that govern your province's building industry, and whether your home infringes on any standards or municipal by-laws.
Our inspector hypothesized why certain erroneous shortcuts were taken to compensate for other issues, and what the future looked like if they weren't corrected. The report enabled us to put together a comprehensive list of deficiencies for the builder to have them addressed.
Prevention and education are key. Builders are not inherently nefarious, and stand by their commitment to build quality, safe homes, but many contract out construction services to third parties, so quality control can become an issue.
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While a secondary inspection may seem gratuitous in nature, as the old adage goes: knowledge is power. Yes, in the immediate aftermath, our wallets hurt, my ego stung and my stomach was full from having to eat my own words. Nonetheless, there was an immediate sense of security knowing that we understood everything about our house, good and bad, and could work with our builder's site supervisors to have the almost 100 issues resolved.
This blog, by Amanda Pereira, was originally published at NextHome.ca.
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