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Common Problems with New Homes and How to Avoid Them

New homes are, according to a variety of statistics, on the rise. Instead of purchasing an existing home from a current resident, many buyers are instead choosing new homes from developers.

The idea of having a home where no one has lived before is enticing. No banged-up walls, no scuffed-up floors. Brand new appliances, fixtures, and windows.

But new construction is not always to the highest standard. There can often be issues with homes that reduce quality or, if not properly installed, require repairs or replacement. To be clear, we are not, in any way, saying that developers are dishonest or unethical. But because of the frantic, cost-cutting pressure of the construction industry, new homes can often have problems.

To help avoid these problems, you need to know what to watch for. You also need to know what you can do to solve these potential issues.

Common Issues with New Homes and How You Can Avoid or Solve Them

Bottom-Dollar Appliances

High-quality appliances, like a good fridge and stove, can enhance the enjoyment of your home. But if the appliances are cheap, bottom-dollar models, they may breakdown quickly, creating large replacement costs in the near future. The issue with low-quality appliances is not only that they don’t perform as well, but they can break down a few years after you purchase the home.

How to Avoid It:

If you are concerned about the quality of the appliances being placed in your new home, you could talk with the developer to have them install high-quality models. Just be aware that this will likely increase the overall cost of your purchase. However, you will likely be happy to install top-quality appliances from the beginning.

Minimal Electrical Wiring

Construction developers need to cut costs as much as possible to remain profitable. This is not a sleazy, money-grubbing practice, but rather a hard fact of the industry; profits are slim, and cutting costs helps make housing more affordable.

One of the ways that developers can cut costs is by minimizing electrical wiring. It’s almost impossible to know if a home is lacking in proper outlets or light fixtures until you’ve actually lived in the home, and many buyers discover that certain rooms simply aren’t wired to provide enough light.

How to Avoid It:

In this case, perhaps more than any other, it’s best to address the issue as early as possible. Adding extra outlets and fixtures is far easier during construction, as opposed to opening walls and rewiring the house. If the home has not yet been built, look at the plans for the home and see if additional outlets should be installed.

Uninsulated Garage

An insulated garage is a convenience, but not necessarily a requirement. Many building codes do not require garage walls to be insulated unless the wall is adjacent to a living space. So the wall between your garage and home will be insulated, the rest will likely not have insulation. Exterior garage doors, walls, and ceilings are often not insulated, which means in winter a garage can become extremely cold in many climates.

How to Avoid It:

If the garage walls are not finished, adding insulation is simple and easy. If they are finished, quite frankly, it may not be worth the massive effort to insulate them. The ceiling is a different issue however. Ceilings can be sprayed with foam or loose insulation, providing better heat retainment. However, if the rest of the garage is uninsulated, an insulated ceiling will have minimal impact.

Wet basement walls, seepage.
Poor drainage on the outside can cause water damage on the inside.

Drainage Problems

If an old house, or even a moderately-aged house, had drainage problems, the issue has likely been addressed already. Grading adjustments were made, and the slope of the yard was revised to allow for proper drainage. Drainage tile may have been installed to enhance the flow of water away from the home.

New homes, however, often have drainage issues that are not yet seen. That is, until the first downpour comes! After construction, dirt needs time to settle, which can create depressions in the yard sloping back towards the home. Drainage problems are often not discovered until it’s too late, causing soggy yards or, much worse, a water-damaged basement.

How to Avoid It:

Solving a drainage problem is time consuming and expensive, but it’s also vital to the longterm quality of your property. In most cases, adding dirt and sloping the yard away from the house provides a reasonable solution. Drainage tile may be required, and you may have to route water away from the home, yard, or walkways.

Uneven Painting

Painting is often one of the last phases of a construction project. In many cases, the builders are ready to move on to the next job, and they may be cutting corners and trying to wrap up the project as quickly as possible. This can result in uneven painting, with thick coats in one place and light coating on another.

How to Avoid It:

Fortunately, it’s easy to solve this problem: get painting! Spending a day, or a weekend, with a few cans of paint and a couple of rollers will make the problems, almost literally, disappear. Of course, if you are lacking in time (or motivation), you can always hire a professional painter to come in and solve the problem for you.

Dusty Ducts Systems

The construction process creates a lot of dust and debris; much of this debris can come to rest in the home’s ductwork. When the air conditioner or HVAC system is activated, this dust is launched into the home’s air, reducing overall air quality.

How to Avoid It:

Fortunately, it’s simple and easy to solve this problem. But it can be expensive. For this job, you want to hire a professional who has the training and experience to thoroughly clean the duct work. When this task is complete, you’ll have cleaner air with less dust.

A High-Quality Loan is Waiting for You

You can have an affordable, high-quality mortgage for your next home purchase. Whether you decide to buy a new home or you are purchasing a classic existing house, you can find top-quality financing for your purchase when you work with our team.

From new homes to refinancing to loans for investment property, we are here to serve all of your mortgage-lending needs! Contact us today and learn about our excellent options for new-home purchases!


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