As a home inspector, I see this issue all the time. When we get a call for an inspection of a new construction home, one of the questions we ask is if the buyer has an agent. Looking back, it seems about half of the buyers we work with do have an agent. Our experience has always been, that when the buyer has an actively involved buyer’s agent representing them, the process of buying a new construction home is much smoother. Recently, we saw this very issue play out in an ideal situation to show the difference. Two buyers were buying new construction homes in the same development, and working with the same builder. The first buyer had an agent. The second didn’t. We did inspections on both of these homes and found a very similar problem in both homes. In the first one, the condensate line from the air conditioner was broken in the attic, and condensate water was leaking out into the attic and had damaged a large area of the ceiling drywall. This water showed up great on the thermal image we took of the ceiling.
After this buyer’s agent brought the issue to the builder, the damaged drywall was quickly removed, the condensate line was repaired, and everything put back together. I don’t think the closing was even delayed.
The second buyer was a friend of the first, and she referred Veteran Home Inspections to them, and we went out to do the inspection. Or at least we tried to. The first time we went out, the builder had scheduled interior painting for the same time as the inspection. Well, we can’t do an inspection while the painters are there with spray paint equipment, so we had to reschedule. Since I was there anyway, I took a quick look around, and found that the condensate line for the air conditioner wasn’t even hooked up, and was just pouring water all over the upstairs bathroom, inside the cabinet, and draining into the master closet ceiling. Here’s an image of the water in the master closet. Again, the purple shows the extent of the water intrusion.
Unfortunately, the second buyer didn’t have an agent representing him, and the builder took advantage of that. They only cut out small holes in the ceiling to allow the drywall to “dry out” and they refused to replace the bathroom vanity that had significant water damage already showing. They eventually forced this client to close on the house before I was able to get in to verify that everything was repaired.
Remember, these are both buyers with the same builder, in the same neighborhood. The inspections were within a few weeks of each other, and the only difference was the agent the first buyer had.
So, if you are looking to buy a house, either new or pre-owned, make sure you have an agent working for you. The seller (or builder) pays this cost out of their proceeds, so there really isn’t much disadvantage to working with your own agent.
I hope this little example also convinces you that even if you’re buying a new construction home, you need to get it inspected by your own inspector. Hopefully, if you are in the San Antonio or the Texas Hill Country area, you will call us to do your inspection, but even if you don’t, make sure you call someone that is working only for you.
You can book your new construction foundation, pre-drywall, final, and 11-month warranty inspections online at www.vhillc.com, or call us 24/7 at 210-202-1974.