Buyers often assume that if a house is new there's no need to inspect it. What could possibly be wrong with a brand-new house? You'd be surprised. Following the 1991 firestorm that destroyed thousands of homes in the hills above Oakland, Calif., contractors from around the country moved into the area to take advantage of rebuilding opportunities. The planning department was overwhelmed. Inspectors rushed from one job to another. Problems that showed up mere years after these new homes were completed were often due to faulty installation of windows and doors, improperly flashed decks over finished living areas, and lack of proper ventilation. One elderly homeowner rebuilt her home in Oakland's Upper Rockridge neighborhood after the fire. The house looked great, better than it had looked before the fire. However, it wasn't built as well. When the owner decided to move to a retirement facility, she sold the house. To her surprise, the termite report revealed that the one-story f...
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