Learn To Spot Building Defects Before Buying
New doesn't always mean perfect, especially when it comes to shopping for real estate. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
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Now that the market has picked up again many stalled construction projects are finally coming to market. But if you’re buying into new construction, you should know that new doesn’t always mean perfect.
"New does not equal perfect. There are going to be growing pains with every new building. They could be minor, they could be minor tweaks that need to be worked out or they could be huge substantial construction defects that are going to cost you dearly," says "The Brick Underground" Founder Teri Rogers.
Rogers says buyers need to be aware of common construction defects that can occur in new development. If they know what to look for and who they are dealing with, they can try to get the developer to correct them before it's too late.
She says it’s worth the investment for an owner or condo board to engage an engineer who can look for structural issues that may not be caught in a regular home inspection.
Peter Varsalona, an engineer who often performs site surveys on new properties, says his team often finds the same types of construction defects. The first one is a poor quality or poorly installed roof.
"The roof system is a big element to the building in terms of its overall water tightness," explains Varsalona. "Roofing systems are designed to last long term and if they are not installed property, could result in leakage, either in the first few years or even within the first six months of your taking occupancy."
Windows are another common problem. He says tenants often complain they are drafty, or they don’t operate or lock properly.
Then there can be issues with the wood flooring.
"Many times we find that not only is the finish improper, but you can see many kinds of defects in flooring such as cupping, the joints are too close or too far apart," says Varsalona.
Other common problems during inspection include poorly installed ventilation systems or a lack of proper fireproofing material. Sometimes tenants are also surprised to find out they didn’t get that customized high end heating and cooling system they expected or, when they go to close, they discover inferior substitutions.
It's important to know these types of problems are not found in all new construction. In our next report, we’ll have some advice on what you can do before you sign a contract and what action you can take to get problems fixed once you’ve bought in.