Your Newly Built Home: What to Do Before Move-In
All new homeowners are understandably eager to move into their newly built home, but rushing the process can result in months or years of costly problems. Find out steps you can take to ensure you move into a well-built home with no defects.
All new homeowners are understandably eager to move into their newly built home, but rushing the process can result in months or years of annoyances and costly problems. If you take the contractor’s word for his work and move into the home as-is, you’re taking a risk that you’ll find shoddy workmanship and construction problems when it’s too late to recoup the costs. You’ll end up paying to repair roofs, foundations, or windows that weren’t built right the first time. Taking your time and delaying the move can be the smartest decision you’ll make.
Choose the Contractor, Not the Home
You can find a beautiful home that fits your family perfectly, but if the contractor has a reputation of sloppy workmanship, you’re asking for trouble. Once you’ve found a potential builder, do some research on him and his company:
- Ask people who live in the same subdivision if they have found any problems with their new homes.
- Check with local real estate agents who may have handled resold properties in the neighborhood to find out potential problems.
- Ask pointed questions with county building officials about complaints, whether projects were finished on time, or inspection problems.
- Contact the local Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the builder.
Before you sign the builder’s contract, negotiate periodic inspections of the property as a condition of purchase. Make at least three inspections while your home is being built. Check after the foundation has been poured, when the framing is done for the entire house, and when the work is finished. Hire an independent home inspector instead of relying on the city inspector or one the builder recommends. It may cost you a few thousand dollars for the extra inspections, but you can save a lot more by preventing the problems that may arise after the builder is long gone.
New Home Warranty
Insist on a new home warranty. Mistakes happen, and even if your builder has a good reputation, you could find yourself in a newly built home with a leaky roof, a flooding basement, or cupboard doors that won’t stay closed. Purchase a warranty from an independent insurance agency that covers materials, workmanship, plumbing, electric, roofing, and every other major structural detail. Your builder should be happy to endorse a warranty like this if he honestly backs his work and his reputation. If your home doesn’t come with a new home warranty, shop for one on your own, but search carefully to make sure it covers all major structural issues.
A brand-new home can be a fantastic investment, but “new” doesn’t always mean “perfect.” With some careful homework and monitoring of the process, you can ensure your dream house is everything you want it to be.
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