LESLIE: Jim in Maryland’s got a construction question. What are you working on? Thinking about building something?
JIM: Actually, I’m at the tail end of a house build. I’m going to closing the 24th of next month.
TOM: Oh, good for you. Congratulations.
JIM: Why thank you. But I’m really kind of plagued with this problem.
LESLIE: Oh, no.
JIM: We had a huge rainstorm back in June.
JIM: About four or five days of it. And immediately after that – the very next morning – the construction crew wrapped the house. We, you know, had all the wood frame up. And same day they wrapped it and put the shingles on the roof and started to put the brick front up. And I’m concerned that they enclosed the moisture. What is your opinion on that?
TOM: Probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but most of that moisture’s going to wick out pretty quickly. It’s not that they’ve sealed it in for months and months and months.
LESLIE: Plus, that house wasn’t completely closed in right away afterward. It had some time to sort of dry itself out.
TOM: I wouldn’t worry too much about it, Jim. I wouldn’t be concerned about that. But what I would tell you is this. Make absolutely sure that before you close on this house, you have a complete home inspection done by an experienced professional. Don’t rely on yourself to do the walk-through by yourself.
LESLIE: And don’t use an inspector that the building company recommends.
TOM: Right, don’t rely on the builder to walk you through. Get an independent professional home inspector to do that. I spent 20 years as a home inspector and I could tell you that my average punch list in a brand, spanking new house was about 25 items long. And so, it’s always best to find those before you close; or at least up front. Because despite the fact that they’ve had armies of construction crews in that house …
TOM: … for hundreds of hours, building it, as soon as you close it, the first time you find a nick or a ding in a countertop they’re going to blame you for it and not want to fix it. So you need to make a very good record of the condition of that place at the time of closing.
You know, a friend of mine closed on a house in Arkansas earlier this summer and took my advice and had a home inspection done. And lo and behold, the builder later on tried to say that they caused a problem with the air conditioning system. And because she had the home inspection that showed that everything was fine at the time that they did it, she was covered. So it’s a very important thing to do to document the condition of the home, identify any defects and, to the extent possible, get them scheduled and corrected before you close. It’s just so much more inconvenient after the fact.
Go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors. It’s ASHI.org. Put in your zip code. They’ve got – the American Society of Home Inspectors chapter in the Washington, D.C. area is one of the largest in the country. There are just tons of good people out there. You’ll get a list of inspectors. Call around. Find somebody you’re really comfortable with and then hire them. It’ll be worth the few hundred dollars it costs you to get that done.
JIM: Well, I really appreciate it. You guys have a great show. I love listening to it.
TOM: Thanks, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.