Do I Need A Home Inspection On A New Build?

March 14, 2024

Do I Need A Home Inspection On A New Build? - Featured Image

When you’re investing in a new home, it’s natural to feel excited and perhaps a bit overwhelmed. You might believe that since everything is brand new, there’s no need for a home inspection. After all, what could possibly go wrong with a brand-new house? The answer is usually nothing, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

An inspection is a crucial step in the home-buying process, whether the property is old or new. It gives you an unbiased view of the condition of the house and can uncover potential issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye.

In this article, we’ll talk about the reasons why you might consider a home inspection for your new build, understand its importance, and look at the role it plays under Canadian law. We’ll also guide you on how to choose a qualified and professional home inspector and what steps to take if any problems are discovered.

So, before you finalize your purchase, let’s explore why a home inspection is something you may consider in your new home journey.

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What is a Home Inspection?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, it’s important to understand what an inspection is and what it entails. A home inspection is a comprehensive review of the condition of a home, usually performed by trained and licensed professionals known as home inspectors. The aim is to identify any potential issues that may need immediate or future attention and present them in a home inspection report.

The Role of Home Inspectors

Home inspectors are an important part of the buying process. They examine the property, looking closely at various elements such as the structure, systems, and components of the house, from the roof to the foundation. They’re trained to spot signs of potential problems, whether they’re current issues or things that could become problematic down the line.

It’s important to note that while a home inspection report gives an overview of the house’s condition, they do not guarantee future conditions, life expectancy of systems or components, or predict future events. Instead, they provide a snapshot of the home’s condition at the time of inspection.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

So, what exactly will home inspectors be looking at during the home inspection process? Here’s a brief rundown of what they’ll cover in their home inspection checklist when they inspect home builds:

  1. Structure: This includes foundations, basements, walls, floors, ceilings, and roofs. The inspector will look for signs of sagging, cracking, or water damage, among other things.
  2. Systems and Components: These include electrical systems, plumbing systems, heating and cooling systems, windows, doors, and appliances. The inspector will check these for proper operation and safety.
  3. Exterior: This involves elements like siding, paint, outdoor lights, driveways, fences, and landscaping. The inspector will look for damage or areas in need of maintenance.
  4. Roofing: An inspector will look for missing shingles, signs of aging or damage, gutters, downspouts, vents, and chimneys.
  5. Interior: This includes walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, stairs, railings, installed kitchen appliances, and more.
  6. Insulation and Ventilation: An inspector will check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces.

Remember, a home inspection checklist will report on the visible and accessible components and systems of the home. While they provide an invaluable service, they won’t be able to predict every potential issue. That’s why home inspection reports should be part of a broader strategy for understanding your new home, which might also involve additional professional evaluations like pest inspections or structural engineering assessments.

In our next section, we’ll delve into why these inspections are may be important even for new builds, dispelling some common misconceptions along the way. Stay tuned!

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Why Home Inspections are Important for New Builds

You might be thinking, “My home is brand new. Why would I need an inspection?” It’s a common question, and the answer may surprise you. Despite the allure of shiny new appliances and pristine finishes, new builds are not immune to potential issues. Here’s why you mightconsider a home inspection for your new construction build.

Dispelling Common Misconceptions

The first and most common misconception is because the home is new, it won’t have any problems. After all, everything from the foundation to the roof has just been built, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

New doesn’t necessarily mean problem-free. Construction flaws can and do happen. Are they common? No. But do they happen? Yes.

A rushed job, inexperienced workers, or even substandard materials can lead to issues down the line. The reality is that no home, new or old, is perfect. Every house will have its quirks and minor issues, but the goal is to identify any major problems before they become expensive repairs.

Potential Issues in New Builds

Even with new constructions, there can be a wide range of potential issues. These can include structural defects, improper electrical wiring, issues with the plumbing system, poor drainage, roof leaks, inadequate insulation, HVAC issues, and more.

For example, the soil around a new foundation may not be properly backfilled, leading to water intrusion in the basement. Or the brand-new HVAC system may not be sized correctly for the home, leading to efficiency issues down the line. These are issues that can be identified during a home inspection.

A home inspection is a valuable tool in your arsenal as a homebuyer, helping you make an informed decision about your investment. In our next section, we’ll explore the legal aspects of inspections under Canadian law and the role of bodies like the Alberta New Home Warranty Program. Stay tuned!

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Home Inspections and Canadian Law

Now that we’ve established the importance of inspections, even for new builds, it’s time to delve into where they fit in under Canadian law.

Legal Requirements for Home Inspections in Canada

In Canada, while there is no law mandating a home inspection before purchasing a property, it’s highly recommended. A home inspection will provide invaluable insights into the condition of the property and could save you from costly repairs down the line.

However, it’s important to note that the home inspection industry in Canada is largely unregulated, meaning anyone can call themselves a home inspector. This underlines the importance of doing your homework when choosing an inspector, ensuring they are certified and experienced.

Alberta New Home Warranty Program

In Alberta, the provincial government requires that all new homes have a warranty from an approved program. This includes coverage for defects in materials and labour, such as plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. However, this warranty does not cover items like appliances or cosmetic issues.

The Alberta New Home Warranty Program is one of the approved programs in the province, providing coverage for new builds and renovations. As part of the warranty program, a third-party home inspection is required at various stages of construction to ensure the quality of workmanship.

However, the Alberta New Home Warranty Program does not cover all potential issues. For example, non-structural defects (like finishes) are only covered for one year, and certain types of water penetration are only covered for two years. Furthermore, the warranty does not cover any alterations, deletions, or additions made by the owner after taking possession.

The Role of a Home Inspection

A home inspection plays a crucial role in identifying potential issues that may not be covered by the Alberta New Home Warranty Program. By identifying these problems early on, you can address them with the builder within the warranty period.

Remember, a home inspection is not a pass-or-fail test but a tool to help you make an informed decision about your investment. It can reveal potential issues that might not be apparent to the untrained eye and provide you with a clear picture of what you’re getting into.

In our next section, we’ll guide you on how to choose a qualified home inspector and what steps to take if any problems are discovered during the inspection.

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Choosing a Home Inspector and Next Steps

Now that we understand the vital role of inspections and how they fit into the legal landscape, let’s discuss how to choose a professional home inspector and what to do if problems are discovered during the inspection.

Selecting a Qualified Home Inspector

As mentioned, the home inspection industry is largely unregulated, so choosing a professional home inspector makes a significant difference. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Certification: Look for a home inspector who is certified by a reputable organization, such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) or the Alberta Association of Home Inspectors (AAHI). This ensures they have undergone rigorous training and adhere to a strict code of ethics.
  2. Experience: Experienced inspectors are more likely to spot potential issues. Ask about their background and how many inspections they’ve conducted.
  3. References: A good inspector should be able to provide references from previous clients. Consider reaching out to these references to get a sense of the inspector’s thoroughness and professionalism.
  4. Sample Reports: Ask for a sample report to gauge the level of detail the inspector provides. A good report will be thorough, clear, and include pictures.
  5. Insurance: Ensure the inspector has professional liability insurance. This can protect you in case the inspector misses something during the inspection.

What to Do If Problems Are Discovered

If your home inspection reveals issues, don’t panic! Here are some steps to take:

  1. Review the Report: Go over the inspection report with your inspector to fully understand the issues at hand.
  2. Prioritize: Some issues may be minor and can be fixed over time, while others may require immediate attention. Prioritize what needs to be addressed first.
  3. Negotiate: If you’re in the process of buying the house, you can use the inspection report to negotiate repairs or a lower price with the seller.
  4. Get Estimates: For major issues, get estimates from contractors to understand the potential cost of repairs. You can also talk with the builder to get an understanding of if these issues are covered under the Alberta New Home Warranty Program.
  5. Re-evaluate: If the issues are too significant or costly, you may need to reconsider whether this is the right home for you.

Discovering problems during a home inspection of a new build can be disconcerting, but it’s an opportunity to address these issues before they escalate.

The first step is to communicate your findings to the home builder. Builders are generally receptive to fixing issues identified during an inspection, especially if they’re covered under warranty. It’s crucial to provide a detailed list of the problems, ideally accompanied by the home inspector’s report. Negotiating repairs or modifications before finalizing the purchase can save time, expense, and future headaches.

If for some reason the builder is uncooperative or disputes the inspection findings, it may be necessary to escalate the matter. Visit the website of the residential protection program or read up on consumer protection resources to understand your rights and the builder’s obligations under local laws.

In Alberta, for example, the Alberta New Home Warranty Program offers dispute resolution services for issues not resolved directly with the builder. Remember, documentation is vital through all stages of this process; keep records of all communications, the original inspection report, and any subsequent actions taken.

Consulting with a legal professional specializing in real estate might also be a prudent step to ensure your investment is protected. Remember, being informed and proactive is your best strategy in navigating the complexities of new home inspections and warranty claims.

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Wrapping Up: Home Inspections Simplified

Home inspections might seem daunting, especially for first-time homebuyers. However, as we’ve seen throughout this article, they’re an invaluable tool in the real estate buying process, providing a detailed snapshot of a home’s condition and potential issues.

By understanding the legal context of inspections in Canada, knowing how to choose a certified home inspector via reputable organizations who deal with property inspectors, learning how to navigate any discovered problems, and leveraging the inspection process to your advantage, you can approach the home-buying journey with confidence.

Remember, a home inspection isn’t a pass-or-fail exam – it’s a roadmap to understanding your potential new home. It’s about equipping yourself with knowledge, making informed decisions, and ultimately, protecting your investment.

Whether you’re considering an older resale home or a brand-new build, don’t underestimate the value of a thorough home inspection. After all, a house is more than just a property—it’s a place to call home, to create memories, and to feel secure. And that’s something worth investing in.

At Sterling Homes, we understand the value of home inspections and stand by our building practices. That’s why we welcome potential homeowners to complete a third-party inspectors. Speak to your Area Sales Manager if you are considering having a home inspection done so we can ensure a seamless experience. 

Here’s to finding your dream home—may it bring you happiness and peace of mind. Happy house hunting!

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About the Author:

At Sterling Homes, our mission is to provide the opportunity for affordable homeownership without compromise. Over the last 70 years, Sterling Edmonton has quickly become one of Edmonton’s most popular builders. We bring more than seven decades worth of exceptional customer service, superior design and unparalleled craftsmanship to the greater Edmonton area. As a member of the Qualico Group, Sterling Homes focuses on greater Edmonton’s finest family communities, while being able to offer some of the region’s most family friendly prices thanks to volume purchasing power for materials, trades and land. This has not only made Sterling one of Edmonton’s bestselling, move-up builders, but also one of the industry’s most respected home providers. It is through our uncompromising commitment to our customers that we proudly deliver the Sterling Advantage – that’s why each and every home we build includes a 10-year home warranty, a completion guarantee and new home warranty excellence rating. Our Advantage is our pledge that, when you build your dream home with Sterling, we will deliver a timely, well-built home you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.

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