Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monitoring the Building of your New Home

By Mark J. Donovan

When having a new home built it is imperative that you visit the site regularly to make sure the home is being quality constructed. It is very important you do this early on in the home construction process as well as the end of it.

It is better to uncover problems early with your builder and your home’s construction, than later, when it becomes more expensive to make changes. When you see problems immediately bring them to the attention of your builder so that he has the opportunity to fix them before it is either too late or too expensive.

When visiting your new home construction site you want to focus on several key items:
  • How well the job is being managed
  • Attention to job site safety
  • The cleanliness of the job site – in and around the new home
  • The quality of the framing and construction
  • The quality of the rough electric and plumbing
  • Storage of construction material

Two of the most important things to look for in your builder and new home construction are how well the project is being managed and the attention given to site safety. Look to see if the builder has a centralized location within the home or on the site (e.g. trailer) for storing architectural drawings, building permits and safety notices.

Another red flag is job site cleanliness. If there is trash and scrap material lying all around the home construction site, there is a higher probability that there will shoddy workmanship as well. Trash and construction scraps should be placed in an onsite dumpster and the new home should be swept out at the end of everyday. The home should be free from trash.

When visiting the home construction site examine the framing for clean and neat joints, and the use of straight lumber. If you see shoddy cuts or twisted lumber being used bring it to the attention of your builder. Otherwise the finished walls will look terrible, not to mention structural concerns.

Also examine the home’s rough electric and plumbing. Make sure that holes being drilled in the floor/ceiling joists and walls are centered. You do not want wires and pipes too near the finished wall surface, nor do you want floor or ceiling joists improperly weakened.

Also check the home for proper use of flashing. Flashing prevents water damage and should be used on the roof, in-between the deck and home, on chimneys, and on siding, doors and windows.

Finally, check to make sure the construction material is being stored in a dry and covered area. Frequently construction material is damaged or stolen when left in the outside elements.

Monitoring your builder’s performance and your home’s construction early on can help to ensure your home is quality built. Don’t hesitate to talk to your builder about issues you have uncovered during your visits.

To learn more about hiring the right building contractor for your custom home building project see’s Home Construction Bid Sheets.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

When Purchasing a Home Get a Home Inspection

By Mark J. Donovan

When planning to purchase a new home make sure you get a home inspection first. In fact, make sure the purchase and sales agreement is contingent upon your satisfaction with the home inspection report(s).

A home inspection should include:

  • Structural review of the home (framing, exterior doors/windows, siding, roof, floors, walls)
  • Water damage (shingle failure and/or siding failure)
  • Foundation check (for cracks and settling)
  • Electrical wiring check
  • Plumbing check
  • HVAC check
  • Pest damage (insects and rodents)
  • Interior Doors/Windows check (are they operational)
  • Water quality test (including checking for radon in the water)
  • Radon Air test (particularly if the home has a basement or crawl space)
  • Hazardous waste test (leaky buried oil tanks)

In addition, if the home is on a private septic system the septic system should be inspected to make sure it is functioning properly and that it is not damaged in any way.

Also, if there are any buried oil tanks on the property they should be inspected to make sure they are not leaking or near failure in leaking.

When signing a purchase and sales agreement allow yourself (the buyer) sufficient time to have the home inspections done. Ideally you should request up to 30 days in the purchase and sales agreement to have the home inspection done and to get the final reports.

It is extremely important to get a home inspection before buying your new home, even if the home is a new home. An uncovered problem during the home inspection does not mean you have to necessarily terminate the purchase and sales agreement. You may want to work with the seller to see if they will fix it, or reduce the price of the home accordingly to allow you to pay for fixing it.
A home inspection is well worth the investment; so before you buy your next home, get a home inspection. Ask your real estate agent to provide you with a list of home inspectors.

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