A Home Inspection, Why?
Our House Is BRAND NEW!
Getting a new construction home inspection may sound crazy, but it makes perfectly good sense. Las Vegas hammers out new homes very quickly. Keep in mind that people build homes, so your brand new construction home may not be built perfectly. We’ve noticed that in about 9 out of 10 new homes that we have inspected for our clients, the inspector has found something pretty important wrong with the house.
When something important is wrong, it can cost you money. Not only for future repairs but also in your monthly utility costs. Besides financial savings, you’ll get years of peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to wonder if everything was manufactured or installed correctly when your home is inspected.
Different builder floor plans for a newly built home will have different cut-off times for adding optional upgrades. All Las Vegas new construction home builders provide you with an opportunity to hire a home inspector for the pre-drywall framing walk-thru. Consider hiring a contractor or engineer if you are not familiar with 2021 home building.
This is your last opportunity to find missing electrical, plumbing, and structural items. Once the drywall goes on the walls, changing things can get very expensive, and builders often won’t add any items that were missed. Clark County and the City of Las Vegas home inspection reports are as thorough as possible, but they see many homes each month and miss items.
The Builder Fixes Everything, Right?
The Las Vegas City Building Department inspects each new home at most construction stages, but they do not reinspect the same things later on. Sometimes a sub-contractor will break something, and the contractor or worker doesn’t want to pay for the damage, so it is not reported. Sub-contractors are often paid by the foot, which means that speed equals more money. Repairing and re-doing something costs them money. Yes, the new construction home builder looks over things when they’re finished, but some things are missed or not visible.
Delivery of Your Home
City Building Inspectors have a check-list that must be completed for the City to issue the Certificate of Occupancy (COO). Some items on the list are not verified visually- like attic insulation. The insulation company issues a certificate, and the inspector accepts that. Yes, there are mistakes- some big and some small.
After the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, the house is cleaned. Next, you do a walk-thru and systems orientation. After that is completed, the builder fixes things noted on the punch list while you sign the loan and title documents. Your loan will fund the next day, and the deed will record.
Congratulations! Now you get the keys to your new home, and you believe everything works great. We hope that this is true for you. However, because that’s not always the case, we recommend that you have your home inspected- BEFORE YOU MOVE IN!.
New Construction Warranty Coverage
Warranties are included after new home construction is completed. Each home will come with numerous warranties. They can last for different periods of time, but most new home builders will cover almost everything inside and out for the first year. Appliances and mechanical systems will typically have a 2-year warranty, and roof tiles may have a 7-30 year defect warranty.
We find that most Las Vegas new construction home builders include some kind of a 2-10 Year Structural Warranty. Structural warranty claims average over $40,000, so having one is important. Of course, after you close on your home, extended warranties will be offered to you for appliances and systems by each manufacturer.
What’s Not Covered By A New Construction Warranty
Items not covered by most builders after your initial walk-thru are cosmetic items that aren’t obviously their fault. Those include scratches on mirrors, glass, and wood. We encourage our clients to enjoy their orientation and to only focus on cosmetic items and how their home functions. You’ll be given touch-up paint but check the paint and drywall at your walk-thru so that you will only need minimal paint touch-up after you move in.
We suggest that you keep a list of repair items in a kitchen drawer and submit it to the builder’s customer service every month or two. Mark your calendar on about your 11 month anniversary to submit a final repair request. Make sure you note any settling cracks in the walls and on the ceiling and walk around the outside of your home, looking both up and down at everything.
Getting Your Home Inspection During Your Walk-Thru
With a Las Vegas new construction home, you’ll want to get your new home inspection done during the walk-thru if the builder allows it or right when you receive your keys. Ideally, you want it done before your new construction home purchase is finalized while you have leverage. You cannot prove that a contractor created a cosmetic flaw after you move in – look carefully!
If you have looked thoroughly for scratches on doors, mirrors, and windows, and the builder noted them, you’re good to close. The problems come if an inspector discovers an issue requiring a wall to be cut. That’s when you probably won’t be very happy either. We suggest that you schedule your new construction home inspection while the home is vacant.
A builder wants you to be happy- reputation is what sells homes. Regardless, if there is a problem after your walk-through, you have to tell customer service and get the repair scheduled. We get concerned (because it happens frequently) when you do not know that there is a problem. If you don’t have an inspection and the buyer who buys your home next does, it’s possible that they’ll find defects you never even knew about. Guess who gets to cover that repair…
After selling hundreds of Las Vegas brand new homes, we feel strongly that it’s extremely important to verify that everything is correct. People believe that because a home is brand new and pretty, that it will only have minor problems- if any. Don’t think that way. We understand this, so we pay for a new-construction home inspection for every client that we represent. If you are not our client, please hire an inspector. Spend the $300-$500 and have your home inspection. This may be the largest investment you ever make- please protect yourself!
Hidden issues can cost you money, and they can possibly harm a system in your home. A new construction home inspection is also for your protection and peace of mind. An additional bonus is that this new construction home inspection can pay for itself many times over.
Most people will never go into their attic, on their roof, or examine their windows closely. Finding obvious flaws and cosmetic items at the walk-thru and during the first month is normal. The unknown is what can cost you money- monthly, yearly, and when you sell the home years from now.
- Missing insulation and drywall
- Exposed wiring in the attic
- Structural problems such as a cut or broken truss and missing nails
- Broken window seals and non-Low-E windows when you paid for them
- Missing, cracked, and broken roof tiles
Energy Star or LEED Homes
In Las Vegas, new construction homes are built and designed for high energy efficiency. If a house conforms to the standards, it is rated as an Energy Star Home. The step above Energy Star is a Certified Green Home. Our personal Certified Green Home saves us $750-$1000 a year on utilities compared to our last home. Nevada Power sends out monthly energy use comparison letters that always make me smile.
Energy Star Homes can feature Low-E windows, radiant barriers, tank-less water-heaters, and extra insulation levels. Things like smaller windows can be a big factor too. The AC/Heat systems in these homes are designed to be balanced and work with other features to achieve a “Certified Green Home” and a money-saving house. When a feature is installed incorrectly, your “Energy Star Home” can cost you money. Here’s how:
Examples of Hidden Energy Defects:
- A reversed Low-E window won’t repel heat and cold; it will pull the heat or cold into the home.
- The insulation above a room may not entirely cover the ceiling, so your home is hotter and colder.
- Would you know if the $2000 radiant barrier you paid for was installed on the attic ceiling?
- A disconnected air duct can heat and cool your attic for years.
- One or multiple AC units may be low on freon (now called HCFC-22 or R-22) from the manufacturer. Undetected, your units will run harder and longer, using more power and wearing out your units sooner. Eventually, you may need to pay for a service call and the new freon substitute.
- A gap at the fascia boards can allow all kinds of critters into your attic. A person rarely looks up at these things.
- Broken or cut trusses will cause structural integrity issues and more settling cracks. A future buyer’s inspector might see this, and you’ll have an expensive repair.
How Do You Determine if the Low-E Orientation is Proper?
(Infomation from a top Las Vegas New Construction Home Inspector:)
Reversed Low-E windows are a very common issue in Las Vegas. You can not see the layer of microscopic metal on the glass with the naked eye. If you Google it, you will see some examples.
Our Inspector also says- There are some inventive ways that have been attempted to determine whether the window orientation is correct, including using a butane lighter. In reality, the only way to positively ascertain the proper orientation is by using a Low-E meter. Believe it or not, many glazing (glass) contractors do not carry the equipment necessary to verify Low-E window orientation before installing the window. Generally, the installing contractor will look for the sticker placed on the window by the manufacturer. If the sticker fell off, then the installing contractor has a 50 / 50 chance of installing the window correctly. Whenever there is a 50 / 50 chance, there is a 95% probability it will be installed improperly!
New House Inspectors Are Unique
New Construction Home Inspections need to be done by an inspector specially trained to inspect new construction houses. Las Vegas resale home inspectors inspect fewer items and may not have the additional expertise required for new homes. A new construction inspector needs to know about modern building codes, energy-saving products and systems, and Smart Home technology features.
New home construction inspectors check the interior systems, windows, walls, and basically the entire structure. They also check the attic, the garage, and the outside walls. Roofs are inspected using drones and binoculars. Temperatures are checked inside appliances and at all vents and faucets.
Our Discovered New Home Issues
We move every 3-5 years as we gradually downsize. It never fails to amaze us about what our inspectors find! Our new construction home inspector found moisture in a shower wall in the guest bath with his moisture meter. Having grown children, we might not have found that leak for years. The repair was extensive, involving granite, drywall, plumbing, and mold testing. If we found that problem two years later, it would have been extremely expensive- FOR US! What if a new buyer discovered it after we sold the home? This is why we give every client a new construction home inspection.
At other houses, there was one home with a bowed wall due to the plumbing. There was no drywall on the inside wall of a closet around the door jam in another house we bought. My point is that there can be many things that a city building inspector and even the builder don’t see. Obviously, the drywall guy knew that he didn’t cover that wall, but it saved him time. The more eyes you have on your team, the better your house will be.
Even in our custom-built home, one day, we felt cold air coming out of the medicine cabinet slots. So I went into the attic at 120 degrees to investigate. There was a duct coming out of the air handler that had come loose and unattached. Looking around, I discovered that there was no insulation over about 100 square feet of the master bedroom ceiling. We had high ceilings, so we noticed a temperature difference in the room but never thought it was due to insulation. Fortunately, missing that insulation had only cost us money and comfort for two years.
Do yourself a favor and get a New Construction Home Inspection. Las Vegas buyers can hire us for free (the builder pays us at no cost to you). We monitor the construction of your home every week, and we will hire the best home inspector in town for you as a gift to you.
After attending hundreds of new construction home walkthrus, we began giving every client a home inspection as a gift. That’s how important we believe a new construction home inspection is for your new home. You need to protect yourself because, in reality, mistakes are made, and usually, no one else is looking out for you.
Once you decide to have a new construction home inspection, use caution when choosing the person or company. Resale Home Inspectors may not be equipped or trained to recognize potential problems with the features of new-construction homes.
Interview potential inspectors before hiring them by asking what they will be inspecting. Ask if they use thermal imaging and if they check window orientation as well as window seals. Do they do thermal imaging? Ask if they have a special tool for testing energy-efficient windows and if they use a moisture meter and a drone? These tools are expensive and are invaluable to YOU.
Keys To Your Home’s Safety
The National Association of Realtors recommends that the first thing you do once a home becomes yours, is to change the locks. In Nevada, Builders use smart locks. Once your master key is inserted, all sub-contractor access keys will no longer work. You can rest easier and feel secure from day one- but put your key into EVERY door lock.
Garage doors also have key locks for extra security, and in case you don’t have a garage door opener yet. I also feel safer because modern windows come with a variety of locking features. Home safety for your family comes in many forms. Don’t be the only home on the block without a video camera. Make deals with the neighbors to film your home, and you’ll film theirs. Neighborhood safety works well when working together.
Protecting Your Investment
Do you know that in Southern Nevada, New Construction Developments and Resale Home Sellers pay for a buyer to have Buyer Representation? You can have the best buyer representation in Las Vegas- and that’s Kurt. Because he’s a former Nevada Building Engineer, he uses his skills and knowledge to protect you and your investment as part of his services.
In Las Vegas, new construction home inspections are just as important as getting one for a re-sale home. If you want to buy a Southern Nevada property, contact our team today. Besides providing you with a home inspection on every new home, we protect our clients with FREE New Construction Monitoring as your home is being built. The best part? The Builder or the Home Seller pays me, not you! A Builder’s prices are the same whether you have a Realtor or not- definitely have one.
The catch? We have to accompany you to the home tract on your first visit, and you cannot already be on the builder’s mailing list- and yes, exceptions are made but don’t go without us for the first time. If you cannot resist going without us, tell them you have a Realtor and ask if you can look and don’t sign their registration form!
We suggest that starting right now that you don’t sign into any builder’s website either. If you want more information or a brochure, let us get that for you. Absolutely protect yourself by calling us today to put us on your team- free of charge! Kurt’s Construction Monitoring skills can be invaluable to you with how quickly homes are built in Southern Nevada.
We have a general information New Construction Homes page and about 8 other new construction information pages. There are pages about 16 Las Vegas Home Builders with tips and inside information. Also, see the blog about 7 Reasons Why You Should Use A New Construction Realtor. Feel free to use our New Construction Home Search- it gives you a good idea about what’s out there. The program doesn’t filter well sometimes, so feel free to call us, and we can email you homes.
Set an appointment for a housing consultation- put us on YOUR team. Call us with questions at 702-750-7599 or fill out the Contact Us Form. Our goal is to save you time and money while locating your new home and to protect you at every step. After over 25 years of selling homes in Las Vegas, no one is better at this than our team. Besides gifting our clients a New Construction Home Inspection, we gift an inspection on resale homes too.
This blog was written by Kurt and Terri Grosse. Kurt and his wife/partner, Terri, are a Southern Nevada Top-Producing Real Estate Team with over 25 years of experience. Kurt was a Nevada P.E., C.E. Engineer for 10 years before joining Terri selling Las Vegas Real Estate in 1996. Kurt’s construction experience and real estate knowledge make him the best new-home Realtor in town. Kurt and Terri provide you with unique services as a completely free benefit to your investment and for your family.