Is My Client Over-reacting to a Minor Deficiency?


My client closes on Friday, and is concerned about what I believe to be a minor thing. However, it would be a lot better if I knew what was causing the crack in the venner of the front porch dormer pillar of a new construction house. It starts about 8 inches up in the mortar, and follows the mortar, through one brick course, and then stops at the foundation. What could be causing this?
I’m thinking it could be either physical contact or impact; or the weather, since it has been dry and hot for several weeks with little or no rain. Does anybody have any other suggestions?
Now hopefully the pictures upload because this is the first time I have added pictures.

It’s not impact, but why are you concerned over how important this defect is to your client? Report the defect and make it the builder’s problem. If you start downplaying it, you’re going to own it if it turns out to have a more significant root cause that gets discovered down the road.


A “minor” deficiency that’s only going to get worse.


On new construction I put everything in red and in the summary of the report. A new home should be perfect, anything I find on a new home is a “big” problem.


Do you report on cracks/splits in drywall joint texture/paint/tape? Do you report on exterior sealants where areas should be caulked but are not or the caulking is insufficient/improper and gapped? Do you report on planting beds that are less in height than 4" from brick/stone or 6" from siding?

I can make the list 100 pages easy but the fact is there is no such thing as a perfect home even in new construction. I have yet to walk away from a new construction home that has no defects either major or minor. However to say any issue found on a new construction home is a ““big” problem” is certainly asking for trouble from one or more of the parties involved.


I completely agree with Chuck! I’ll also add that there are many potential causes for this from simple reasons of minor origin to more significant Foopahs by the Builder. Trying to explain something you can not see (the root cause) is a slippery slope that will only cause issues for you later.


Same here. I agree that it is the builders problem…just report it as a crack on the pillar.

1 Like

In new construction there are no categories of defects, but simply defects (even cosmetic) which need to be addressed. Final walk-thru should be conducted after the builder has completed his punch-out of the home. I insist the buyer is with me during the final inspection to make sure my definition of ‘cosmetic’ parallels the their meaning, and I will write up most anything which displeases them. The typical new construction buyer in my market has owned homes in the past and is very savvy.

1 Like

It all goes in the summary, which then becomes a punch list for the builder.

1 Like

We observed cracking at the #$%^&*#@. Have builder or competent contractor evaluate and repair as needed.

Hey Im pretty new at this but from what I believe is correct is to report the crack, note it may need further inspection buy licenced professional, and let the future owner decide whether he wants to pursue your recommendation or not bother, the why or how , or what can be discussed with the builder or licenced pro. What do you think?

1 Like

That crack is a punch list issue, that’s what you were hired to do. Report the crack. If the cause is not obvious, don’t speculate. If the buyer is concerned, it’s definitely a punch list issue. If the buyer told me he was concerned about a particular issue, I’d even note that fact on my report. It gets the attention of the builder. Unless he’s totally wrong, don’t argue with the buyer, your client. He won’t be happy unless the crack is addressed. An experienced builder knows that the buyer needs to be happy in order to sign off on the house completion, and what one buyer is bothered by, another buyer is not. Every new house has a punch list, and no new house is ever perfect.


Hey Norman. I agree with you on this. I generally note cracks and things of this nature followed by a statement such as, “recommend further evaluation by a licensed…” This way the client knows I saw it and they see it on the report. It is up to them if they judge it important enough to follow though.

Doesn’t look minor to me.

What does it look like to you and why?

That should be interesting! :smile:

reaching for the popcorn

Did you get a big tub of it.??

Because you have settlement issues on a new home and you haven’t even moved in. I’ll bet you will see cracking in the front porch slab within the first year. It’s hard to tell exactly from the picture but I am not too thrilled with the grading around the structure. How thick is the slab? Is it monolithic? Floating? (porch not home). Could it just be the lumber drying and shrinking?

If this was a 30 year old home and you said no big deal I would agree.

I don’t know your soil types and I don’t know what the weather has been there during construction. My point is - do not discount clients concerns.

Is it even your responsibility to know why? Sounds like a liability.