Inspection of Property

Once you have an accepted contract on the home you love, it's absolutely critical that you have certain home inspections performed.  According to the local real estate purchase contract, you will usually have between 7-14 days to have any inspections you and your agent feel are needed, and to ask for repairs if needed (more on that in the Negotiating Repairs section).  Here's why it's so important:

  • This is your ONLY chance to discover any defects in the home before you own it.  After you own the property, your "leverage" with the Seller is gone.
  • Even if the Seller was careful in completing the Seller Disclosure, there may be defects (including mechanical or safety issues) about which the Seller isn't even aware.
  • Some lenders will require that the property be certified termite-free before lending on it.
  • Even if you are buying a new/never-occupied home, it's important to know that it was built to code, all systems were installed as they should have been, etc.  This CANNOT be taken for granted.
  • Even if you think you can live with certain defects you have discovered in a home, you are likely to be asked to correct them when you sell.  So, you have to ask yourself if you're willing to live with them AND pay to correct them for the Buyers when you sell the home.

So, OK, what's involved?

Your Realtor will make recommendations in terms of qualified inspectors, but the choice of who you decide to use will be yours.  You want your inspector to be thorough but not "inflammatory".  There are defects in every home.  Some are serious (either unsafe or expensive to correct), while many are not.  There are a few problems which render homes unsuitable for most buyers.  Here's what you will be doing:

A standard Home Inspection - the inspector will look over the roof, electrical systems, mechanicals (furnace, etc), plumbing, exterior grading, problems with sidewalks or driveways, integrity of windows, floors/ceilings and much more.  In some cases, the inspector will suggest that you have an additional review by a licensed roofer, electrician or other trade.  The inspector will give you a detailed report on the condition of the home, and also a summary a notable defects.  This inspection will usually run from $275-$400.

A "wood destroying insect" inspection will be performed by a pest control company.  They look for termites, or course, but also carpenter ants, carpenter bees and other insects that can eat your home!  They will give you a report saying "no evidence home has ever had them", "home has had them but they appear to be treated/gone" or "home has an insect problem".  The latter is what you don't want to hear, although many insect problems are minor and can be resolved within limited treatments and cost.  Most pest inspectors can even do bedbug inspections, some using dogs as the "inspector". Standard inspection will be $50-$60.

Radon Gas - This is a colorless, odorless gas that comes up from radioactive deposits in the ground.  It enters homes through cracks or any other "gaps" in the home's foundation, and 50% or more of the homes in Jefferson County will have it at a concentration higher than what the EPA suggests is "safe".  It is believed to increase risk of lung cancer, but can be corrected with a simple "negative pressure" system installed in the home.  Inspection will cost about $135.

Septic System - If the home you're buying has a septic system, this one is important.  The inspector will test the system for water absorption, integrity of lines and distribution boxes and more.  Usually around $300+, but septic repairs can be very expensive -- you need to know if the system is OK before you purchase.

OK, so now you know the exact condition of the home you are buying.  To see what to do next, click here fo the  "Negotiating Repairs" section.

To get more info on this topic, or any other, feel free to call us at any time!

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