So you’ve found the “perfect place”, it’s gorgeous and appears to be in flawless condition — what could possibly be wrong? Hold on — back up the bus — wait a dog on minute…! There could be issues lurking behind that pretty face.
So when making your offer, don’t forget the Home Inspection contingency!
This contingency allows the buyer a few days (usually 7 – 14) to inspect the property and make sure there are no hidden issues that affect the safety or value of the home. You can do it yourself, or hire a professional, which usually costs $250-$500 based on the scope of the inspection and size of the house. Significant home repairs can cost thousands, so this is not the place to save money — always hire a professional! It will be money well spent and provide you peace of mind that you’re not buying a pig with lipstick!
Each inspection company provides slightly different services, but most offer a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas and systems of the property which include:
- Other Interior Rooms
It does not guarantee they will find every defect and does not usually include lead paint, asbestos, toxic materials, mold, radon, pools, hot tubs, sprinkler systems, septic systems and wood destroying insects (unless contracted for separately).
Inspections normally last 2-3 hours and buyers are encouraged to attend. Most inspectors provide maintenance and home care tips along with the inspection so it’s a great way to get acquainted with your new home, especially if you’re a first time buyer. All of the findings are then emailed to the buyer in the form of a Home Inspection Report. Usually the findings are divided into the following categories and include photos of any issues, repairs or hazards:
- Major Repairs/Safety Hazards
- General Repairs
- Items to Monitor
- General Comments
After receiving the report the buyer reviews the report along with their agent who then prepares a Buyer’s Inspection Response, concentrating on the Major Repairs/Safety Hazard items which need attention. This document states that the buyer will accept the property if the seller completes the listed repairs prior to closing. Then this document is sent to the Listing Agent where he will go over it with the seller and they will prepare a Seller Inspection Reply. This process goes back and forth, similar to counter offers, until both parties reach agreement.
Usually homeowner want to sell and know any “issue” won’t go away, so they are reasonable about making the needed repairs. Occasionally they aren’t willing or able. What happens then? The buyer has the opportunity to continue the purchase without the seller making the repairs or they can cancel the sale and their earnest money deposit will be returned.
Want to know what an Inspection Report looks like? Download one here.
About the Authors: Steve and Tonda are co-owners of The Hoagland Group -- a small family real estate team specializing in helping families make great moves. How can we help you?