March 31, 2010

Home Inspections: New Doesn’t Mean Perfect

Mold Drywall Water Leak

The Aftermath - After the Warranty Expires

The last couple of home or condos that I’ve sold have all had one thing in common. They’ve been fairly new, not lived in or barely lived in and nearly every defect that showed up during the home inspection was defective from the day the property received its certificate of occupancy.

Even before the big building boom home buyers weren’t fond of getting a home inspection on brand spanking new home. Many buyers don’t understand that it’s usually an illusion that a new home is perfect. It doesn’t matter who built it, it was still built by human beings who can make mistakes.

That huge amount of real estate inventory that we’ve been selling off was essentially built over night and maybe even at night. If it was an investor owned property it was likely one of a half dozen properties that was purchased on the “get rich quick” program. There were a lot of homes built to flip and corners were cut, most especially with getting the homes inspected at closing.

A simple investment of a couple hundred dollars in a home inspection could have saved thousands down the road. Those little issues could have been taken care of under the builders warranty if they’d just been discovered when the warranty was in effect or before the builder faded off into the sunset or went ten toes up.

Roof issues seem to be sleeper issues that balloon into a larger, costly fix. Skimping or just plain neglecting to install flashing is more common than anyone could even imagine. Mistakes are blatant enough for most of us to wonder out loud if a building inspector even looked at the roof at any point during the construction process.

Water is the enemy and we’re supposed to keep it from leaking into our homes at all costs but roofs aren’t water tight? Add to that, thresholds that are put in backwards to collect water in driving rain, windows don’t close completely and a classic new favorite: buildings with phantom leaks where everything is wet but nobody’s sure where the water is coming from.

What comes around has gone around. The original investors that finally get a buyer on board are often selling short and selling “as-is with the right to inspect”. If things get too hairy the buyer can bail out. This is where those little undiscovered defects that grew fangs change the game.

There’s nothing like the “M” word to scare buyers. The discovery of a little errant H20 followed by the phrase in the home inspection report “conditions conducive to grow mold” can put an end to the love affair with a home.

There are a lot of sellers and even agents that end up pointing fingers at the inspectors for killing deals. The fact of the matter is they’re just doing what they were hired to do.

They’re also doing the job that also should have been hired to do years earlier when the property was new, when the warranty would have covered the repair and before a mountain was created from a mole hill.

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Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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