Detecting problems in construction is becoming increasingly difficult. There may be only one or two building inspectors and hundreds of houses to inspect. Further, while in most cases the inspectors are well trained and specialized, they often are not expert in every area of construction. In a few cases they simply are not very well qualiﬁed. Therefore, you cannot leave it entirely up to an inspector to decide if your house has been built on the proper foundations. Here are a few dos and don’ts you should keep in mind.
- Consider buying a resale. One of the advantages is that you pretty well know what you’re getting. If the home has been standing for 5, 10, or more years, chances are it will stand another 30 or 40. On the other hand, when you purchase a new home, you’re buying something that is as yet untried.
- Give careful attention to the weather of the building location. Check all your building material prescribed or provided by the builder with another expert. Look up solvemyproblemm.com to find out their effectiveness in certain weather conditions.
- Get your ‘certificate of occupancy’ after construction. In most cases, the building inspector catches problems and forces their correction before this certificate is granted. You can’t occupy the home without this certiﬁcate—in most areas you can’t even connect to water, power, or gas without it.
- Don’t use too many tiles. The trouble with tiles is that they aren’t very good at holding out water. In a wind-driven storm, the water sweeps up under the edges of the tiles and through the roofs. Lay down layers of heavy, waterproof felt before placing the tiles. It acts as an effective water barrier.
- Avoid too many bedrooms and bathrooms. Three or four bedrooms are often best for resale, two may restrict your ability to resell quickly, but ﬁve could make the house overbuilt for the area. Similarly, two is minimal for the number of bathrooms, three is better, but four could be overkill.
- Submit problems and pose all your questions to the builder at the designing stage, and not the construction stage. Ask him for clear-cut diagrammatic representations of what your house is going to look like and then suggest modifications.
Regardless of the area of the country, shoddy construction goes on all the time right next to excellent construction. Most buyers of new homes have no problem at all (or a small problem which the builder quickly ﬁxes). But that doesn’t mean that major structural problems in workmanship or even materials couldn’t occur. In a way it’s like buying a car. Chances are the one you get will be wonderful. On the other hand, you could get a lemon. Educate yourself as a responsible homeowner and actively engage in the construction of your house.