For homebuyers a general home inspection is one of the most important procedures in purchasing a home. A home inspection will reveal the current physical condition of the property and should be completed by a certified inspector.
Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware)
Your home purchase will likely be the largest investment of your life so take great care. The due diligence period, prior to the close of escrow is the ideal time to complete your home inspection. “A general real estate inspection report provides written documentation of material defects discovered in the inspected building’s systems and components which, in the opinion of the Inspector, are safety hazards, are not functioning properly, or appear to be at the ends of their service life (LaRocca 2014).”
Once the inspection has been completed you will receive a written copy of the report. I advise my clients to attend the home inspection because it can eliminate uncertainties when reviewing the inspector’s report. The report will include a detailed summation of the plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating and cooling systems. It will also include information on the foundation, property grounds and the garage. The interior of the home will also be inspected and includes: kitchen, bathrooms, living, dining and family rooms. At the end of the report the inspector will rate each inspected area and place them into categories that include: serviceable, needs attention and not acceptable.
Trust but verify
The seller has a statutory obligation to disclose all known defects associated with the property. However, the seller will likely be unaware of all existing defects that have quietly festered over the years. The general home inspection is a preliminary inspection and should be completed first. Based on the findings in the general inspection report you may want to follow up with specialty inspections which include: roofer, foundation, plumber, electrician, and sewer and septic. Specialty inspections will give you peace of mind knowing exactly what is required to bring the property to a condition that you desire and are comfortable with.
The general inspection cost is based on the square footage of the property however, specialty inspectors including Termite inspectors have a flat fee for their services.The general inspection can take between 2-4 hours to complete depending on the size of the property.
Equally important is the Wood Destroying Pests and Organisms (Termite) Inspection Report. This inspection is not part of the general inspection and should always be conducted. This report will identify the presence of termites.
The report is divided into sections which include Section 1 which is infestation that is evident and Section 2 which is what is likely to lead to infestation. It is important to know if you are obtaining a loan, the lender will require that Section 1 items be cleared prior to funding.
An accepted offer is not necessarily your best and final offer.
You’ve made an offer with the expectation that the property has no significant defects. The benefit of all home inspections, is they will give you a clear picture on the current physical condition of the property. If there are items that are not operable or need attention it is an opportunity for you to open up negotiations with the seller.
The written reports and estimates that you have obtained throughout the inspection process should be forwarded to the seller and used as valuable supportive documentation for your requests.
Keep in mind the seller has options when it comes to your requests. The seller can offer to fix the items, credit you an amount that you both agree on, reduce the sales price or they may choose to do nothing at all. In most real estate transactions if the buyer and seller cannot come to a mutual agreement regarding inspections the buyer can cancel the transaction and request that their initial deposit be returned or accept the property as is.
In the end, most situations surrounding home inspections can be solved and the transaction will close. It is important to remember that a knowledgeable experienced real estate broker is key in assisting you with negotiating strategies.
For more real estate information you may contact Yvette C. Page, President of Callum Page Realty Group directly at (213) 256-6363, [email protected] or www.callumpage.com. Cal Bre Lic #01518712