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?