“I’m buying a new home. It was inspected by code officials, so I don’t need a home inspection.”
I hear this all the time.
It’s perfectly natural to think that if you’re buying a house that’s just been built, it doesn’t need an inspection. After all, it’s brand new! And if a city code official has already looked at it, what more is there to do?
In theory, that sounds great. But the job functions of a code official and a home inspector are not the same.
Yes, we look at a lot of the same things, but not necessarily in the same way.
Here are a few examples of issues I noticed in a newly constructed home on a recent inspection.
✅ Leaky Tub – There was a leak around the jet on a jetted tub. A city code official might discover the leak, but it would be highly unlikely as that’s not something they look for. They will look at the plumbing, but they will not fill up the tub, turn on the jets, and then look for leaks.
On the other hand, as a home inspector, I will fill up your bathtub to look for leaks around the faucet, around the pipes (if accessible), and I will test the jets (if applicable) to make sure they are working properly. A tub with an unknown leak could cause extensive damage and expense down the road.
✅ Cracked Tiles – I found four cracked tiles in a bathroom. There may be a code official somewhere who looks for cracked tiles, but it’s highly unlikely.
As a home inspector, damaged flooring is one of the things I look for. Although hairline cracks on a couple of tiles are mostly cosmetic, I want the buyer to be aware of them. It’s something that should be covered and can be easily fixed under the one-year Builder’s Warranty.
✅ Falling Windows – The windows in the living room, when opened, would free fall one-third to one-half of the way down from their closed positions. Again, this is not something that a code official would probably catch, as they aren’t looking for that. They would look to make sure the windows were properly installed at the time of installation.
I will test all accessible windows to ensure they operate appropriately. A falling window is a potential safety hazard, especially in a household that has children, but it’s relatively quick and easy to fix.
These are just a few issues from one house.
So, if you ask me, it doesn’t matter how new or how old a house is. If you’re looking to buy or build a new home, it’s definitely worth having a home inspection.