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House Inspectors for Homes Built during the Boom

July 21st, 2009

The housing boom pressured builders to construct a lot of homes in short time frames, causing construction defects that oftentimes only professional house inspectors can immediately see.

So, prospective home buyers really need to hire professional house inspectors licensed to conduct home inspection in the state where the houses are located.

In a 250-unit subdivision in Sacramento Valley, more than 50 percent of residents have reported at least one major defect in their homes. The residents have filed a lawsuit against the builder, seeking money to repair their homes, but while waiting for the case to proceed, they have to suffer leaks, cracks, fissures, shifting floors and other defects possibly for a longer time.

If these residents hired professional house inspectors, they would have avoided their current housing problems.

Housing analysts said that the fast pace of home construction from the 1990s to 2000 to satisfy the soaring demand for homes contributed to significant numbers of construction defects, compared to building defects in houses built in normal times.

During the construction boom, builders had to continue the work despite the shortage of high-quality building materials and skilled construction workers.

Many local government agencies also failed to inspect adequately housing projects because their house inspectors could not cope with large numbers of projects.

Based on data from the National Association of Home Builders, over 2 million homes were constructed across the country during the construction boom in 2005. A national association of home inspectors estimates that about 17 percent of new homes constructed in 2006 had more than two significant defects.

In 2003, the percentage of new homes with at least 2 major defects was 15 percent.

Nevertheless, according to a large insurance firm covering home construction defects, the number of homeowners filing for residential defects is declining, partly because of the increasing awareness among prospective home buyers about the importance of hiring professional and licensed house inspectors.

The firm also added that the number of insurance claims for construction defects in some states is still increasing because of attempts by some homeowners to turn insignificant defects into cash.

Still, many construction defects are real. A homeowner in Minnesota bought an eight-year-old house that now needs to be overhauled at a cost of $228,000. The homeowner said it does not make sense making the repairs as the value of the house has gone down to only $190,000.

With these defects and home value deterioration, prospective home buyers should have been persuaded by now about the value of hiring licensed professional house inspectors.

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