Number of new Houston homes built is up ↑
quality of construction is down ↓
As the number of newly built homes in the Houston area is rising, the quality of home construction continues to decrease. Years ago a builder would hire, train and supervise their own craftsmen to build a house. The better builders had a reputation for quality construction and the buyer could be relatively sure they were buying a well built home. Today the only people you’ll likely meet, employed by the builder, are the sales person and the superintendent. Both of these positions have extremely high turnover rates. The odds of having the same superintendent start and complete the construction of the house is becoming rare.
All builders are using the same pool of subcontractors to construct essentially the entire house. As the volume of new homes being built increases, the number of qualified subcontractors cannot keep up with demand. Builders are then forced to use subcontractors that may have a minimum skill level.
I have inspected a new home constructed by a reputable builder in one subdivision and then inspected another home constructed by the same builder in a different subdivision and discovered twice as many problems. Same builder sign in each yard, completely different build quality. This disparity is directly related to the inconsistent quality of subcontractors.
Many unsuspecting home buyers are duped by the builder into buying a home without an inspection by citing the builder warranty coverage and/or claiming they have their own inspector.
Reliance on the builder’s warranty is the most common reason why buyers of new homes forego home inspections. In many cases in Houston, this has proved to be a costly error. Buyers assume that all significant defects will become apparent during the warranty period. This is a faulty assumption.
All new homes have unapparent defects, regardless of the quality of construction or the integrity of the builder. No one can build something as large and complex as a house without committing a few errors at various stages of the construction process. To assume that all such errors will be readily apparent is a recipe for financial loss. Some problems may reside in the attic, in the electric service panel, or high atop the roof. They may involve safety violations with a chimney installation or the grounding of electrical outlets. There might be a defect in the roof framing, the gas connection to the heater, or the site drainage on the property. A home inspector who is able to discover such conditions will enable you to take full advantage of your builders’ warranty.
Another trend I’m seeing in the Houston market is builders assigning the warranty work to a 3rd party contractor. In essence the builder is washing his hands of your problems. I even saw a list of contractors recently for the home buyer to call if they have a problem. The phone number to call was a different company for each system of the home, plumbing, electrical, foundations etc. The chance of these contractors even being in business for the duration of the warranty is slim.
As for the pitch, the builder has his own inspector. It should be obvious; the builder’s inspector has other loyalties, related of course to the source of his paycheck. His allegiance is to the builder not to you.
The bottom line is don’t close on a new home without an inspection of the home from an independent Houston home inspector of your choice.
Would you like to go ahead and set-up your new Houston home inspection now?