Home Buying in South Beach>Question Details

Maria, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

Should I have a home inspection done by an inspector when purchasing a brand new condominium? Thank you in

Asked by Maria, San Francisco, CA Sat Apr 12, 2008

advance!

Maria

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15
Sonny’s answer
Maria,
I am a Home Inspector and want you to think about one thing. All the individuals involved have a vested interest in your house closing [money]. Hire a Home Inspector to work for you and only on your behalf, he has no vested interest and hopefully will tell you exactly what he finds and reports it to you. This way you know and can negotiate repairs or just live with it, but at least you know.
The majority of structures built have something missed, it's nearly impossible to built something with hundreds of different components and not have something missed. My opinion, get one and the best you can find. It will be worth it.

TBK Inspections llc
Kenneth Tabak
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 12, 2009
Hi Maria, While your local building department is inspecting at various stages of the construction it is important that you have your own inspector that works strictly in your best interest. You home inspector will look at more than just building code (the very bare minimum standard). They will look at items that building departments seldom do. A good private inspector will open every door, drawer and window in the house (looking for missaligned items), they will cycle the appliances, heating and cooling and look at trim items the building dept doesn't care about and you might miss. A good inspector will also provide you with tips on how to maintain your new home and answer any questions you might have about future improvement you may choose to make after closing. If I were to tell you that you're getting a product that "meets the minimum requirements" and it will cost you thousands of dollars a year for the next 30 years would that be enough? Get out the yellow pages and have the inspection.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 12, 2008
Dear Maria,

The money you spend on a home inspection will be well worth it. Just because something is new, that doesn't mean it's without flaws.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 24, 2008
You got some very good avice here. Other items I have encountered more than a few times in new construction (condos included) are failure to mount the dishwasher to the countertop, missed connections (often under the sink at the dishwasher or disposal), "dead outlets" (not connected), improper use/installation of flexible gas tubing, walls, floor, and doors out of level or square, and cosmetic issues like missed paint (especially on the interior trim of closets), missing kickplates, poor quality painting (drip marks, etc), cracks in grout around the tub, etc.

ALL new construction should have a professional indpendant inspection, as there are standards to which builders can be held accountable, but few buyers know of them.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 24, 2008
Dear Maria,

I always offer my clients the opportunity to choose. I always go through with the Developer's rep and my clients and create my own Punch List which I make into my Agent's Inspection which is a part of the Transfer Disclosures in a regular sale and is always included with the Developer's paperwork by me and my clients. I tend to write ALL that I see including things that the Seller might not agree to fix.....but we ask. Sometimes my Agent's Disclosure is accepted and those items are repaired. Sometimes the Developer states they will use only their Punch List. If you a have an experienced agent, you he/she should do this and discuss how to handle the responses. And I always ask the Rep to put my items on their Punch List!

That being said, a Licensed General Contractor could find items that I, as a realtor, might not. If you have an extra $450, and don't trust the Developer or your Agent to fully find and list all items, I would take one with you. That would put your mind at ease! If you have a contractor friend who would do it for free, you can take him/her in lieu and save yourself some $$. Have the Contractor point out flaws to the Rep for the Developer to include in the Punch List while they both are there.

One another hand, the Developer goes gives a 10 year warranty in SF for major defects and a one year warranty for most but not all problems which could affect your unit. All the appliances usually have a one year warranty which many companies will allow you to extend another year or more for a fee. This, too, offers your protection.

You can also add a Home Warranty from Fidelity National or American Home Shield or First American but I would not have it start until AFTER the first year of ownership. You can call these companies and discuss their terms. The warranty can be put on the home at the end of the first year.

Maria, here are your options. I hope they are helpful. If I can answer any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Cheers,

Sally
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
Read my blog entry on the subject here: http://www.realtown.com/sfcahomes/blog/the-home-buying-proce…

For new construction, a home inspection can help you learn the important components and systems of your building, your unit, etc. It may also catch stuff that you should know about, but that may not be 'wrong' or 'bad' necessarily.

If you can not afford the $500 or so for it, then maybe you should not be buying the condominium in the first place.
Web Reference: http://www.sfcondomap.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
I have seen many items overlooked by a new homeowner on their move in walk through with the builder. I have seen a few instances where once the buyer closed on the home he was much less receptive to any areas of concern that needed to be addressed.

The builder is much more motivated to work out all the glitches on the home before closing, especially if you request those items be handled prior to closing. Those builders move fast if they know the closing is going to be held up.

So a home inspector would be an excellent resource to be your eyes and your ears as they know what to look for.

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 12, 2008
probably a waste of money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 6, 2014
It's always a good idea to have a home inspection done on any home. Inspectors are trained and knowledgeable about items that may give you problems in the near future which could help your purchase decision. Look for reputable home inspectors in the area and get that report done. For a few hundred dollars, it will give you piece of mind that you are making a sound investment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2014
Hi Maria

For sure, you need to get a top notch New Building Inspector.

Good luck
Ruth

http://www.ruthandperry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2014
Hi Maria,

Sounds like you're getting a lot of good opinions on this.

I'd generally suggest using an inspector for any purchase, with a few exceptions. If the seller has already had their own inspection done and you've read through it via the disclosure packet, a second inspection might not be necessary.

In the case of a new building, if they don't have their own inspection, I'd base the decision on the type of warranty, if any, they have. Some new buildings cover all repairs for up to a year, in which case an inspection wont really matter, because they'll fix any problems you discover as you live in your new home.

That being said, inspections are relatively inexpensive ($400-$700 ish depending on who you use and the type/size of property), and if it wont affect your ability to get a property (ie: if you're not competing with other buyers who are making offers without any contingencies) go ahead and do one just to be safe.

If you'd like a recommendation for a great inspector that I've used on many projects, let me know!

Hope this helps,
-Ryan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2014
I agree with Jim (below) that hiring a professional inspector for any purchase is a wise move. While brand new construction properties may seem like they are in perfect condition, you never know if everything has been properly completed. An inspector will take the time to explain how things work and how to maintain them over the years of your ownership. Your inspector will also provide you with a written report of any issues that come up, which is very helpful when going back to the developer (or seller in a resale) to request repairs or credits.

If a client comes to me and says they don't need to hire an inspector, I want to confirm that they have purchased homes before, or have some experience in construction so they at least have the ability to thoroughly inspect a property to their satisfaction prior to removing any contingencies.

In a very heated market, it might put your offer ahead of the competition to waive your inspection contingency. If this is the case, I would still suggest doing an inspection "for informational purposes only" so that you are very clear about the condition of the property you are buying.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 20, 2014
Thank you all for great input!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
Yes you should have the condo inspected by an independent inspector. Common problems will be kitchen fans not vented, windows and doors failing, GFCI protected plugs not grounded, and the finishes not expertly installed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
I agree partially with the answers below. As most of the new constructions come with a Home Warranty extending upto 10 years overall and 1 year for some cosmetic items to 2 years for some. The township issues a Certificate of Occupancy -C.O which should be your first level of confidence and as you start living in the house, the virtual visible problems iif any start showing up and at this stage you should start noting them down and call the builders maintenance department for the first year they cover. Also do read the Warranty carefully and act as per their time requirements. I feel that spending 300 to 600 bucks for the Home Inspector may be an unwanted burden at this stage, when you have enough time to catch the defective stuff. So read the Warranty carefully, highlight the various dead lines and document the defects and take pictures and that's the best you can do.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 13, 2008
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