As the real estate market heats up, new home construction increases.  However, not all new construction is built the same.  Beware of cheap building techniques and home builders who cut corners to save money.  It's not difficult to spot a home that has been built cheaply.  First, buy a $5 tape measure before you start looking at homes.  Once at a new construction home, look in the crawlspace (if it has one).  Measure the distance between the floor joists.  Homes should be built on 16" centers.  That means there should be 16" between floor joists.  Many builders are now spreading the joists out to 24" to save money.  This weakens the overall structure of the home.  The same thing goes in the attic.  Measure the rafters to make sure of 16" centers.  Once again, 24" centers on rafter create a weaker roof system.  Also take a look the lumber used in the construction.  Is it very knotty?  Does it have bad places in the wood (splintering & splitting)?  If so, the builder has used a cheaper grade lumber in the home that won't hold up over time.  Some other things to notice - look at the quality of the cabinets in the kitchen, check the type or quality of the floor coverings, check the quality of the windows and check the quality of the plumbing & electrical fixtures.  You can get the product brands and compare prices at your local home store.  A good builder won't use the cheapest thing they can find.  I know several good builders and their quality shows.


I've personally seen these cheap built homes after 10 years and the results are scary.  Cracked sheetrock throughout the home (due to wind movement because of lack of support), decks falling off homes (not supported correctly), roof shingles already deteriorated, sagging roofs due to the wider rafter centers and vibration when walking through the home due to less support in the floor system.


Remember, just because a home is new and pretty doesn't mean it's built well.  Buying a home is like getting married - you like what you see on the outside when you first meet, but you don't know the inside until you're together for a while!  Then it's too late!


Gregory Goff - REALTOR® & Auctioneer