I’m buying a newer home. Do I really need an inspection?

Earlier this week a client wondered if I would charge less for a home inspection on a newer house. Of course, I told him no. People also often ask if newly-built houses should be inspected at all. At the risk of sounding biased and self-serving, I always say yes.

If you are not familiar with home construction and you cannot afford an expensive surprise after buying your home, I recommend an inspection on any home you intend to buy.

There is a notion that new homes would have fewer problems than old homes. Modern materials, modern codes, modern practices, etc. Unfortunately, new homes are just as likely to have problems. 

Certainly, issues are often unique to the age of the home. A home built in the 2000s may have Kitec plumbing. A home built in the 1990s may have polybutylene plumbing. A home built in the 1960s may have galvanized steel plumbing.

People love attic spaces as bonus rooms or storage spaces. Older roofs framed with rafters provide such a space, whereas newer homes tend to be framed with trusses, which  eliminated the useful open space of an attic. A prior owner of a newer house I inspected recently apparently couldn’t resist such a space teased by the truss-filled attic. They cut out a significant portion of truss webs leaving the roof dangerously unsupported. Any modification of a truss must be done under the guidance of a structural engineer. My client at that home was very grateful that they hired me, as they had originally planned to skip the inspection precisely because it was a newer small home. 

Even brand new homes can have their problems. Due to the speed and price at which homes are built and contractor structure on some jobs sites, work is sometimes not done to code or to expected standards. On large developments, building inspectors often only view a sample of homes. There have been cases where buyers’ home inspectors found absolutely no insulation in attics of newly-built homes. If the person you are buying the house from did not have a home inspection, you may be inheriting issues of which they hadn’t yet become aware.

Some issues are commonly found in both new and old homes. Improperly installed materials in DIY renovations are common. An ambitious home owner who doesn’t know how to do proper electrical or plumbing can cause just as much havoc in a brand new home as they can in a century home. Any given house may have leaks, unrepaired damage, pests in the crawlspace or attic. 

In any home, the furnace may have condensate leakage or debris inside. Just this week I found a one month old furnace with a significant leakage that requires service.

I could go on and on and if I didn’t have to go inspect another home right now, I might. Hopefully this set of anecdotes and opinions will help dispel the myth that the age of the home should factor into one’s decision to have it inspected. 

If your home is brand new or only a few years old, issues that are found on inspection may qualify for Tarion warranty coverage in Ontario.

If you have any other questions or would like to book a home inspection, please contact me, Jason Cherry, at Cherry Home Inspections.