It doesn't matter if you're buying a preexisting home or building from the ground up, you expect to get exactly what you pay for. While mistakes can and do happen during the construction process, it goes without saying that some defects should not exist.
As a buyer, the best way to protect against construction defects is to hire an experienced and knowledgeable home inspector. This person will examine every inch of the home, ensuring that they point out anything that's wrong. This gives you the opportunity to not only learn more about the issue, but to ask the seller to correct it before moving forward with the purchase.
Common construction defects
There are hundreds of different types of construction defects, which make it difficult to pinpoint every problem with a home. However, some defects are more common and serious than others, such as:
- Poorly designed roof, which results in leaks
- Cracked foundation
- Failure to insulate all or some of the structure
- Use of defective materials
- Water intrusion
- Improper installation of electrical and/or plumbing systems
Toxic mold, for example, is one of the most dangerous types of construction defects. Not only does this impact the value and appearance of your home, but it can also result in a variety of health concerns.
In the most severe of cases, toxic mold can make a home inhabitable, which means you'll have to spend money on another place to live as you search for a remedy.
Who's liable for the defect?
If you've recognized a construction defect, you'll immediately turn your attention to two details:
- Finding a solution for the problem
- Determining liability
Liability for a construction defect is based on a variety of factors. For instance, a defect related to improper installation or construction may place liability on the homebuilder or sub-contractor.
If you're buying an existing home, claims are often related to breach of warranty, breach of contract and fraud (such as neglecting to disclose defects).
Buying a home is a big purchase, so you don't want to get taken advantage of. If you have reason to believe someone should be held responsible for a construction defect, don't hesitate to learn more about your legal rights.