House HuntingMove to New Orleans“Good enough” wasn’t, so we’re still looking for our New Orleans home

January 4, 20200

If you ever buy a new house, it’s important to have reasonable expectations. I’ve had quite a few buyers do inspections on new construction and none of them have ever been perfect. Expecting them to be is unrealistic. Ultimately, missed details get pointed out to the builder, they get fixed, and everybody ends up pretty darn happy.

I posted a video from underneath what we thought was going to be our New Orleans home — a new-build. While I escaped with my life, we also left the contract and the house behind, after seeing what the inspection turned up. We were too uncomfortable with things we saw that the builder thought were “good enough”. For example, I’ve built a fence far sturdier than what was slapped up around this house. That’s not good. Really. My attempts at home improvement inevitably result in multiple trips to Home Depot, profanity and regret.

The span between the posts was too long, the posts themselves were turned the wrong the way so they weren’t fastened correctly, and on top of that, they decided to raise the height of the fence in the backyard without doing anything to support it. It felt like I could take it down with one hand.

Hardie board siding is good stuff, low-maintenance and found on the overwhelming majority of new construction. It just needs to be installed correctly. In other words, not like this…

What drives me absolutely crazy about this pic is that whoever installed this piece of siding knew it was cut too long. “Should I get down from this ladder and cut it down to the right length? Nah. Good enough.” When I sent this inspection report to my favorite inspector in Colorado, he said, “It looks to me like a lot of ‘measure once and cut three times’ amateur work going on.” This looks like the cutting never went beyond once.

Finally, there’s this deck. Having established my level of expertise when it comes to home improvement, I just went through an entire tutorial on the Lowes site for how to build a deck. At no point was there a step devoted to taking a notch out of the joists.

There was more. After the inspector let the water run for a little bit, we found multiple leaks in the drain pipes under the house — as in 7 or so. All of this stuff could be fixed, and the builder proposed to do so, but how could we trust them to fix everything correctly when they thought this kind of work was good enough in the first place? Also, if this was evident in the parts of the house we could see, what weren’t we seeing?

As a result, we cancelled the contract and our deposit is on its way back to us now. We loved this house, but if an inspection is trying to tell you something, you better listen.

The quest continues.

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