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Warranty Home Inspections

By Frank G. Ross


For homeowners of newly built homes, the thought of getting a brand new home inspected for potential defects might seem an unnecessary expense, but experts say problems can be present in even the newest homes.  Though it is standard practice for real estate professionals to suggest an inspection for new and existing homes, the majority of buyers purchasing new homes opt not to have one.

It is fairly common for builders to offer a new construction one-year warranty which covers many aspects of repair and replacement throughout the house. Take advantage of the opportunity to document construction defects before your 12-month builder's warranty expires. An independent home inspector can provide a thorough and detailed inspection report, often on-site. 

As newly built homes age over a year’s time, it is typical for various items to change. Structural, mechanical or cosmetic issues commonly develop within a recently built home.  Your best bet is to catch the problem early.

With homes less than a year old, I rarely find situations that are a major cause for concern.  However, I do often find conditions that could lead to major problems.  For example, a recent inspection revealed a broken roof ridge tile.  This tile needs to be replaced so that moisture will be prevented from penetrating the home through the roof. 

In another home I observed water puddling on the basement floor from a leaky bathtub above.  Obviously this is a situation that should not be allowed to continue. 

Something else I see quite often is loose plumbing fixtures, such as faucets or p-traps or toilets.  These loose fixtures are all sources of potential leaks.

A homeowner once asked me to arrive at his home before 9:30 in the morning. Upon my arrival he told me that each morning in the attic where the furnace is located a suspicious tapping began. I gained access to the attic and got into position to observe the AC copper tubing. Sure enough, about 9:30 they began a “Morse code” type of tapping that began very slowly, and then began to get faster and faster until it was a blur, and then it stopped. The entire episode lasted less than a minute. The AC lines were not secured in place against the trusses was one problem I saw but as for the actual tapping, I referred the owner to an AC and Heating company for further information and advice. 

The one item that I find in over 75% of warranty inspections is that the self closing door to the garage has the self closing device disconnected. During construction the self closing device, usually spring loaded hinges, is disconnected to allow workers to carry ladders, sheetrock, cabinets and other items into the home without the door getting into the way and the door is simply overlooked when construction is completed. The self closing feature is intended to increase the safety of the home’s occupants in case of a fire in the garage.  The closed door will help to contain the fire.

Another reason to have a new construction warranty inspection is to receive helpful home maintenance and cost-saving techniques regarding various systems throughout the home. Think of your report as your homeowner’s operations manual. Learning how to properly maintain and operate your home’s systems can help minimize future problems or costly repairs.

Something else homeowners of new homes want me to do during my warranty inspection is to document their concerns in writing. They may have found a cracked floor tile, or a loose faucet, an ill fitting kitchen drawer, or even stains in concrete porches. I do document these things after I verify they are actual concerns or defects.

One question homeowners frequently ask is if I know the builder/contractor of their home. I can honestly say that I do not know any builder/contractor in SW Utah and I try to keep it that way in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

Most homeowners are under the impression that the only time to have an inspection done is if you're buying or selling a home. Actually, as a homeowner, you have two options. You can either wait until you sell and possibly discover bad news. Or, you can have your home inspected periodically, bringing maintenance and other issues to light, so that there won't be any surprises when you do decide to sell.  When you as a homeowner consider the investment you have made in your new home, a professional home inspection is a relatively inexpensive safeguard. Your investment in a new construction one-year home warranty inspection will prove to be of significant value.


Frank Ross is a Certified Utah Home Inspector for Pillar to Post Professional Home Inspection and a full member of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors and a member in good standing with the Utah Better Business Bureau.  Readers may contact Mr. Ross at (435) 867-6400 or frank.ross@pillartopost.com


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