New Home Building Inspection – We hired one and You probably don’t need to!

When we purchased our first home – a new build from Tartan Homes – we thought it would be responsible and prudent to have a home inspection done a week before closing, during our pre-delivery inspection meeting. So we paid the $500 fee and the inspector was there for about 30 minutes – he noticed that the air conditioner (which we purchased through the builder) wasn’t working and he suggested that we ask the builder to add more insulation in the attic – that was it…

The A/C was scheduled to be connected that week, which is why it wasn’t yet working. The insulation was to Code (he noted it, I think, because he was just wanting to find something to critique or suggest)… Needless to say, we did not get a home inspection when we designed our second Production Home through Mattamy Homes.

The reality is, when you have a home inspection, the inspector is reviewing and commenting on the home on that specific day. It is usually a visual review, meaning they aren’t tearing out walls to check for mould or leaks, etc. but, rather, just assessing what they are able to see at that particular moment. So if you have a home inspection on one day, take possession a week later and, a month later, discover that you have a leak behind your walls, the home inspector is not responsible.

As such, if you’re purchasing a new build that comes with Tarion Warranty, my (non-expert!) opinion is to save your money and forgo the home inspection. The reality is, any issues that we had with either of our two Production Homes were raised through the Tarion process. So anything we noticed right after moving in, we noted in our 30-day form and our builder then addressed those items within a few months after that. Certain other non-cosmetic issues that arose throughout the years we were able to raise in our 1-year and 2-year Tarion forms and those too were (eventually) corrected.

Having said that, I definitely see the value of paying for a professional home inspection when you’re purchasing anything but a new build. It’s an added insurance and, often times, the inspector will have a good idea of what questions to ask or what to inspect depending on the age and location of the house. We’ve had friends who came close to purchasing a home that they loved, only to find out that the sellers had not disclosed that a portion of the house had previously caught fire. The inspector noticed some issues in the space and, since he knew what to look for, he was actually the one who asked the seller directly if there had been a fire and the seller said yes and he confirmed that it was due to a faulty electrical wiring! That was enough of a red flag to deter our friends from taking the risk with such a huge investment…

All in all, like most things, there is a right time and use for a home inspection. If you’re buying/building new through a Tarion accredited builder, like we are, then I would suggest saving your money for one of the million other little expenses that come with purchasing a home!