What to expect from a home inspection
Houses aren’t perfect, even new construction homes. During your inspection contingency period, you have the ‘hood-up’ while you are in escrow.
Surprises are never good in Real Estate. Inspections prevent big and expensive surprises from showing up later on down the road.
Home inspectors are looking for material defects – An inspector may call out in their report: Safety Concerns, Broken items, recommend a professional to consult with, Recommended repairs or upgrades.
As a buyer, it is reasonable to expect anything that is broken or a safety hazard to be fixed by the seller or credited. For things that are functioning but may need replacement soon or no longer meet the current building code that is up to interpretation. Finally, there are recommended upgrades. Sellers in my experience never pay for upgrades (Example: Upgrading a 40 gallon Waterheater to a tankless water heater or adding a jacuzzi to a pool that doesn’t have one)
Should I get an Inspection?
When you are buying a property, you should always get an inspection.
Types of Home Inspections:
There are a few different inspections available for residential real estate transactions:
Sewer line Inspection or Septic Inspection
Information Title Company Survey:
The General Inspection is the most important inspection, always get one of these. Your general inspector will recommend any specialty followup inspections (Foundation, Mold, Chimney, Drainage, Roof, Plumber,HVAC) if they feel that they are warranted. For Houses I recommend Sewerline Inspections and Permit Reports too, and if it has a chimney, and chimney inspection also. If you smell mold or there is evidence of water damage or you have bad allergies, a mold inspection might be a good idea. Surveys and Geological Inspections are for hillside properties. Tree inspections and Soil Tests are for builders.
Some buyers are overwhelmed when they first receive their inspection report, these inspection reports usually average 30-40 pages. Keep in mind, that if the inspector doesn’t find anything wrong with the property- it looks they are not doing their job! An inspector is going to point out every single thing they find wrong with the property. Don’t be discouraged by the report, chances are it is still a good property.
Remember when I said houses aren’t perfect? Minor things such as cracked sidewalks that might be a trip hazard.
This sidewalk is a trip hazard. Property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, not the city!
dirty air filters:
Example of an inspection report – dirty filter, this is very common
Doors that don’t open or close properly, loose tiles, a hairline crack in a sink or mirror, old but functioning water heaters or air conditioning units, sticky windows that are difficult to open and close- these minor problems you have to put up with as a buyer. The older the house, the more of these types of problems you can expect.
Inspections are for finding major defects, such as a cracked foundation,
Active termite infestation, leaky roofs, broken sewerline, eroding hillside
Illegal drainage, this hillside is getting an erosion scar from a small amount of water.
Should inspections uncover a major defect, there is a process known as request for repairs that allows the buyer to renegotiate the price with the seller or request for the seller to make the necessary repairs.
The inspection contingency begins the day after Acceptance and is measured in calendar days NOT Business days.
Paragraph 14 Purchase Agreement
The default contingency period is 17 days, which is plenty of time to complete all inspections. I would be very careful with inspection contingency time period of less than 10 days. With that short of an inspection contingency, you may not be able to complete all of your inspections within the contingency time period. Inspection companies tend to be very busy, and they need a few days advanced notice to book an appointment and a few days afterwards to write their report. Inspectors work Monday through Friday, and might squeeze a Saturday inspection on occasion. If the general inspector finds a problem that requires an additional specialty inspection or a construction estimate/bid you will need extra time to contact contractors and experts to give you an estimate on how much the work will cost. That takes time too. Add a weekend in there and your 10 days is up!
It is customary for the buyer to pay for all inspections except the termite inspection (paid for by the seller).
I strongly recommend, being present during inspections or have your real estate agent there in your place.
Home Inspection Checklist
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