End of Warranty Inspections

I do a number of inspections on 2-10 year old houses that belong to the original owners who purchased it from a builder. (Large or small) And I find items that could have / should have, been addressed by the builder who built the house. However, because the warranty had expired, the owner could not hold the builder responsible and had to pay out of pocket for the necessary repairs. The builder probably didn’t notify you that your warranty was expiring. The end of warranty is perhaps the most important inspection you can have when purchasing a new house. Find out what problems your house has and hold the builder responsible for them. At the same time you are documenting items that may not be a problem right now, but could be an indication of a future problem. All this is with the benefit of you having lived in the house for a year. Without the end of warranty inspection report holding the builder responsible in the future will likely not be an option.

As an ASHI certified home inspector I am constantly discouraged with the number of defects I find in new construction. There is about a 50 % chance that your new house is built to current acceptable standards. That means there is a 50% chance that your house has problems that either the builder should address or at least you should know about them.

They don’t build them like they used to.

New construction is not what it used to be. There was a time when people took the time necessary to do things right, and the primary motive for being a builder was to do a quality job. That’s changed. Today the primary motive is profit, not quality. Houses are built as fast as possible, with the cheapest labor / subcontractors, and the cheapest materials they can find. The best you can hope for is “acceptable construction”. Even the small “Quality Builders” take short cuts. I’m always asked by clients if their house is “Good Construction”. Unfortunately, most often, my answer is that it is acceptable construction. Good construction requires “good workmanship” which requires trades people who take pride and care about what they are doing. I see less and less of that every day.

“Doesn’t the township inspect my new house?”

Buyers often wrongly assume that their new house has been thoroughly inspected by the township or the municipality. Municipal inspectors are over worked, under paid, and often under qualified. It is not uncommon for them to “inspect” 10 to 35 houses a day. Add traveling time, morning and afternoon breaks and that doesn’t allow much time for through inspection. Thus the phrase “Drive by Inspection”. This doesn’t hold a candle to the 3-4 hour inspection that I do backed by over 35 years of construction experience and knowledge.

Generally, builders have a figure built into the purchase price to cover call backs, complaints, and problems. Most home owners lack the knowledge to recognize defects or potential problems and at the end of the warranty the builder is gone with the money they have set aside to fix your problems in their pocket. All the while you are left with the problems and future repair cost that should have been addressed under the warranty.

Only an experienced, qualified home inspector has the knowledge to inform you on what is defective. This information enables you to hold the builder responsible before the warranty ends, and you have no recourse. It will also document items that may be a concern in the future. That way if they do become problems it is on record that there was evidence of these problems before the warranty ended. Don’t wait until you sell your house and then have the buyer’s inspector list items that you could have had repaired under warranty. At that point, it will most likely be money out of your pocket to repair these defects so that the sale goes through.

If you are lucky enough to have one of the 50% of houses that is “acceptable” the inspection can still save you many times the cost of the inspection. Simply knowing what to watch for, how to maintain, what to expect and monitor and how your house works, can save you thousands. If I find nothing wrong, which frankly hasn’t happened in about 7,000 inspections, the education is worth the price.