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June 16, 2020

So … what could go wrong with my new home in North End or Bluff Lake?

Quite the photo, isn’t it?

What you’re looking at is a sewer line in a new construction home being built right now in a new master-planned community in Denver (not North End or Bluff Lake). This picture is from a sewer scope inspection one of our go-to new home inspectors conducted on June 1 for our wonderful client.

What’s wrong with this particular sewer line? If you look closely, you can see brown dirt in the middle of the new green sewer line. In short, this sewer line doesn’t connect.

And that’s potentially a problem.

We recommend a third party inspection before your drywall goes up

Several of our neighborhood’s builders conduct sewer inspections early in the construction process. But as construction goes on, and workers, materials, trucks continue working on the property, things can change underground. On this particular home had our inspector not discovered this issue sewage could’ve leaked into our client’s yard, and a small sinkhole could’ve developed. Other not-so-great things might have occurred.

Here at Focus Real Estate we’ve been fortunate to help dozens of our friends and clients build new homes around the Denver metro as their new construction realtors – and when we see something like this, it reminds us of what *could* go awry with any construction project anywhere.

We’ve worked with almost every major builder out there, including Lennar, Parkwood, Thrive, Infinity, Brookfield, Wonderland, KB, Creekstone, Boulder Creek, David Weekley, and many others.

We’ve also encountered almost every construction issue you can think of.

Before we go any further, I do want to be clear. Our builders do a fantastic job of building beautiful, technologically advanced, energy efficient, code compliant homes. Building a home is a wonderful experience and as someone who built their own home with one of our builders in Conservatory Green two years ago, without a doubt I’d recommend the new build process to just about anyone.

Filing 57 in North End, where a lot of new homes will be built

Also of note, the builder of the home with the sewage line issue mentioned above graciously and immediately repaired the sewer line, no questions asked. So the process worked wonderfully for our client, and that tends to be the case in my experience with most builders and issues. Last, in our experience reviewing hundreds of home inspection reports in the Denver metro, new construction homes almost always have significantly fewer issues than resale homes.

All that said, the reality is despite the builders’ and everyone else’s best efforts, new home construction isn’t always 100% perfect. So you might want to know – what issues could arise with your new construction home?

Perhaps first, let’s talk about will likely go right.

First, your builder will inspect your home at several points during the building process. Trust me, your builder wants to deliver you a “perfect” home to the extent possible.

In addition, the City will inspect your home at different stages during construction. These inspections are helpful, but understandably these inspections are also permit and code-oriented. The City’s ultimate goal is to make sure your home is “to code” – not that it’s as perfect as possible.

Our builders generally build beautiful, code compliant homes

Given this, I always recommend that our clients hire an independent, third party inspector with substantial experience in new construction to inspect their home at the pre-drywall stage. At the pre-drywall stage, your inspector can see what’s behind your walls, electrical, plumbing, framing, etc. and make sure your home is good to go. Check out this article for more on the predrywall stage of construction: My 4 best tips for your predrywall walk

I also recommend a second inspection when your home is completed (this is when we would have an independent sewer scope done). Occasionally, we’ll also have a home’s foundation inspected if there’s any hint of a potential issue.

Sometimes our inspectors find multiple issues, and sometimes they find almost none. If your inspector doesn’t find anything material, you can feel confident that your home is in great shape – and what a wonderful feeling to have as you move into your beautiful new home!

As for what else might go wrong with your home, the short answer is we’ve seen almost every type of issue over the years. From sewer lines issues and non-functional furnaces to vents that aren’t installed properly to punctured roof membranes and on and on.

New Stapleton home at the framing stage

There are dozens of trades and subcontractors in your home while it’s being constructed and it’s possible mistakes will be made, despite your builder’s best intentions. These issues could be fixed regardless during your new home warranty period, but if the issue is behind your walls or underground it might be hard to catch.

My last piece of advice?  If you’re building a new home, ask your realtor to recommend a great inspector with substantial experience inspecting new construction homes with your specific builder. Experience matters with any home inspection, but an inspector who knows your specific builder and floorplan is often your best bet!

We’ve cultivated an experienced bench of new home inspectors who know our builders and processes extremely well!  Shoot me a note at Mariel@Focus-Realtors.com if you’d like more info on who we recommend or if you have any questions about building a new home in North End or Bluff Lake. Remember, the builder pays your realtor and your new home is the same price whether you use a realtor or not, so our services are at no additional cost to you.

We sell Stapleton homes for a 1.5% listing commission now! Find out more here.

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