What To Look For In A Home Inspection
The seller disclosure form can tell you a lot about the condition of the home, and get some obvious defects on your radar early in the game. However, sellers are not required to actively search for problems in the home, just to list what they are already aware of. This means that there may be many more defects that were not brought to your attention. As the buyer, it is your right and responsibility to hire a host of professionals to inspect the house for you, to fill you in on any other latent defects that were not listed by the owners. It is advisable to look for inspectors who are indifferent to the deal, to give you the most honest and thorough inspections. Here are a few of the inspections you should consider while doing a home inspection:
Health and safety issues are the most important items that the home inspector prioritize to inspect.
- Property Inspection: an official property inspector will be able to tell you the general condition of many aspects of the house, including many of the areas listed above such as plumbing, electrical, foundation, and more. It is not the inspector’s job to fix these problems, but rather to assess them, and therefore likely won’t give you price estimates, but will be able to find anything that the homeowners weren’t aware of.
Electrical is inspected by the home inspector.
- Pest Inspection: This generally applies to a VA loan. Pest inspectors will check for wood damage caused by termites and mold damage caused by water leakages. The inspector will look for both current and future damage, which could be the result of minor issues that if left unfixed could lead to damage in the future. Current damage will fall under the responsibility of the seller, with future potential areas of damage being your responsibility as the buyer.
The home inspector also inspects the roof and the attic.
Hopefully, your inspections were completed and are satisfactory. It is totally acceptable to include an inspection contingency clause, to give you the option back out of the deal if the inspection comes back unfavorably. Again, once you have reviewed the inspection, you have the option to keep the offer as is, ask the seller to repair the defects, lower your offer, or terminate your agreement. If you decide to proceed with the closing, it is always advised to do a final walk-through the day of or before closing. Often times, when the sellers move out their furniture and the house is bare, you may see things you weren’t aware of previously. If the seller finds any new defects during the process of moving out, they’re legally obligated to inform you of these as well, but unfortunately, you can’t rescind your offer unless you can prove that they knew about these defects earlier.
Foundation and basement are in the home inspection list.
Now you have moved into your new house, and you discover more problems that were not disclosed. What do you do? The best thing to do first is to contact the sellers and ask them to pay for the repairs. Hopefully, they are reasonable people and will pay in order to avoid legal ramifications. However, if they deny previous knowledge of the defect, you may have a court case on your hands. If you make a claim within one year of the closing, you can sue the sellers for fraud, and if you prevail they will be responsible for the repair costs as well as the court costs. Speak to your attorney about the best strategy to prove that the sellers were aware of the defect and failed to disclose it.
A house becomes a dream home when it’s purchased in good condition.
As you go through the process of determining the condition of the house you want to move into and navigating the negotiation based on that condition, it is important to be working with a real estate agent who has seen it all, and can negotiate with the proper leverage to make sure you are getting your dream home, not a surprise renovation. Contact Delphine Nguyen of The Delphine Team with Baird and Warner to make sure you are leaving no stone unturned and getting the best house and the best deal possible.
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