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What is a Home Warranty Inspection?

What is a home warranty inspection? And who needs one?

New homes are generally under a one-year warranty from the builder. There may be exceptions, but the vast majority of builders offer the one-year warranty and it covers defects and workmanship issues throughout the entire building. We’re talking about new-construction here, not older homes. After that new home warranty has expired, the builder is no longer responsible for the defects within the home and you (the owner) now assume all responsibilities. Congratulations, that broken cabinet hinge is yours to figure out!

A warranty inspection (often called an “11 month inspection”) will cover the same areas of the home that were inspected prior to closing, and sometimes even more. This is a good summary of those areas. If there was still construction going on during the last inspection, we might be seeing it for the first time. Keep in mind we are looking at those areas again for any changes, AND areas that you probably still have never looked at. You may be well aware of a cabinet door that isn’t level, or a small chip in your countertop. But what about those out-of-sight areas like the attic? Is there sufficient insulation up there? Have you been in the crawlspace lately? Any hidden plumbing leaks down there? What about radon gas (Invisible)and buried sewer lines (Underground)? These areas are definitely not visible to most homeowners, yet are still your responsibility when the warranty runs out. This is why the warranty inspection is so valuable.

Wait!!!…. you DID get a full home inspection prior to closing right? If you are one of the folks that didn’t realize you should do this, then the warranty inspection is going to be even more important for you. This is likely the first time an unbiased home inspector will be looking at your house.

You might need someone on YOUR side. There are builders out there (won’t mention any names!…) that are not exactly helpful after the home sale. They may not respond to your emails or address your concerns about the huge investment you bought from them. You might even be one of the homebuyers that have been pressured by the builder to waive your right to an unbiased home inspection during the building process. Yikes! We’ve even heard of builders offering a “FREE!” home inspection to their clients, except…. it’s just the builder walking around the home again! The warranty inspection should be performed by an unbiased, third-party inspector the neither works for the builder, nor has any interest in the home sale or value. The home inspector will build that report for YOU, and help you address the defects found with the builder or their contractors.

Lastly, “why would I need an inspection at all if the home is brand new?”. Well, for starters, check out this instagram page for some of the crazy things we find. As an example, we’ve seen brand new homes built with MAJOR structural defects that the city inspectors missed. We’ve found sewer lines completely damaged to the point of needing full replacement, and those are NOT cheap. And they’re not as uncommon as you may think. Finding and documentary these types of issues (and many more) in an inspection report is what we do everyday. Every single new home that we have inspected has had issues that need to be fixed. The question is, do you want to know they exist right now and have the builder pay for it? Or not?


How long does a home inspection take?

Planning on being present for a home inspection? You may be wondering how long the inspection is going to take, and whether or not you need to be there for it. Here are some factors to consider:

The home:

Age, location, and total square footage (sqft) of the home are all factors that need to be taken in determining the time needed for an inspection. Obviously, a smaller new condo is going to be quicker than an 8000 sqft mansion with multiple outbuildings. As another example, it may take less time to inspect a 4000 sqft home that is 5 years old versus a 1500 sqft home that is 95 years old.

The inspector:

Every Home Inspector will differ in their methods for inspecting a specific home. Is there one inspector onsite or is there a team? Some states dictate how an inspection will be conducted while other states are not regulated at all. In Colorado, for example, there isn’t a state license for home inspectors. It is important to verify your inspector is at least certified through an organization like InterNachi and has some experience inspecting homes. Newer inspection software programs allow report building on a smartphone or tablet, and can oftentimes be completed and delivered immediately. Likewise, there are “old-school” inspectors that take pictures and move quickly around the home, and spend some time writing the report later.

The services:

A full home inspection is often only part of the work being completed. Are there additional services being conducted at the same time? A sewer scope inspection can add an additional 15-45 minutes. A mold test can add 1-2 hours. Lastly, testing for Radon Gas may only add 15 minutes to the inspection time but there will need to be another trip to pick up the testing devices a few days later.


Considering the many factors involved, what is the actual average time of a home inspection? At Green Door Home Inspections, a typical 3bed/3bath 3000 sqft home with a basement and an attached garage, we are averaging 2.5-3 hours onsite. We use modern reporting software that allows us to quickly add video and pictures within the report and have everything sent to our clients same day. While we encourage our clients to be present for the entire inspection, it is not required. For about 40% of our inspections, we are by ourselves at the home. We have found that a good balance is to have our clients arrive with about 20-30 minutes left in the inspection to chat and go over a summary of findings before the report is sent out.




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