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3 Common Defects Home Inspectors Find in New Construction

Home inspectors

It’s a common mistake. People who buy a new construction home expect perfection. After all, everything is new. No one has spilled soda on the counters and there’s been no chance for ill-advised home repairs or improvements. But that doesn’t mean the house is defect-free.

Every home has defects, even those that have never seen their first moving box. Here are three of the most common issues that a certified home inspector finds in new-construction homes.

#1: Poor Grade Level Around the Foundation 

This defect is difficult to notice, especially in new construction. But give it a few years to mature and the evidence will be clear as a bell.

The soil around the foundation must be at least eight inches below siding and six inches if it’s brick, according to the National Association of Home Inspectors (ASHI). If the grade is higher, water will seep in and cause enormous headaches for the new owners.

Here’s an idea of what can happen is water seeps into the foundation through the soil:

  • Rotted sill plate
  • Rotted rim joist
  • Rotted floor joists

Home inspectors

#2: Structural Alterations for Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC

Just because a house is built well doesn’t mean it will stay that way until the new owner moves in. Plumbing, electrical and HVAC installations don’t happen until the home is partly finished. Unfortunately, those tradespeople might cut corners—literally—to do their job.

ASHI says notches in studs, holes through concrete and joists and all manner of alterations to otherwise sound structural elements are more common than you might imagine. Plumbers might cut through a framing member to run a water supply line. Electricians are not immune from the same. When it comes to HVAC installations, the structural alterations might be so severe that they create an immediate hazard.

#3: Electrical Defects Everywhere in the Home

Electricity runs through every room in the house, so defects can be anywhere. They also have a lot of different circuits, connections, and devices. That means there are a lot of places where an electrician might have made a mistake. Nearly any area where there’s a way to make an error, you might find one.

Here are some of the many electrical defects ASHI recommends watching out for:

  • Wrong gauge wiring for the room
  • Missing GFCI and AFCI protection
  • Inferior electrical service for larger homes
  • Improperly wired load center
  • Service drop too close to windows or doors
  • Voltage drops on long runs
  • Receptacles too close to water

This short list is just the beginning. With so many people working on different tasks during a new build, new-construction homes might have defects anywhere. Because everything looks beautiful and fresh, they don’t always stand out the way that they will a year or two after the new owner moves in.

Certified home inspectors find the defects that buyers need to know about before committing to a 30-year mortgage. If you’re ready to make a difference for people in your community, enroll now in ICA School and start learning today.

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