You should hire a qualified professional home inspector when buying a home; however, it’s useful to learn the basics of home inspection yourself. Being able to see a house though an inspector’s eyes allows you to get a general assessment of a home in a short amount of time, helps you know how to prepare for an inspection, and provides guidelines for giving your home an occasional checkup. Continue reading
Your due diligence inspections should include more than hiring a home inspector to look at the home and reviewing a current termite inspection. And your due diligence should start as soon as you have serious interest in a listing.
Making an offer to purchase a home consumes a lot of time and emotional energy. Before your real estate agent or attorney puts pen to paper, find out as much about the property as you can. In particular, you want to know if there’s any reason you shouldn’t try to buy the house.
Seller disclosure requirements vary from state to state, as does real estate practice and protocol. Find out if there are any seller disclosure statements and presale inspection reports. If there are, ask to see copies before you write an offer.
In some areas, it is standard procedure for listing agents to provide a disclosure package that includes any existing reports and disclosures to interested buyers before they make an offer. In other areas, reports are made available only after the buyer and sellers have negotiated the purchase agreement. Get ahold of as much information as you can about the physical condition of the property as soon as possible.
After you review the seller’s documents on the property, you may discover that the home you find so appealing requires a far bigger investment in repair work than you can handle or afford financially. In this case, move on to the next property with no remorse. You’ve saved yourself from hassle and heartbreak.
On the other hand, if the reports and disclosures fall within your expectations, move on to investigating the local neighborhood. On closer look, you may discover that there are several large apartment buildings that back up to the house you’re interested in buying. This might create a noise factor. If you’re sensitive to noise, you might not be happy living in the property you’re considering.
Buyers sensitive to crime should check with the local police department to see if the neighborhood is being hit by waves of break-ins. Drive by the property several times during daylight and evening hours to see if the complexion of the neighborhood changes in any way that is disadvantageous to you.
Commuters should drive from the property to work and back during rush hour, and check into all the public transportation options that are available in close proximity. If you’re intent on buying within walking distance to shops and cafés, find out how long it takes to get from the house you think you want to the nearest commercial area.
HOUSE HUNTING TIP: It’s wise to include an inspection contingency in your purchase offer so that you have a time period to complete whatever inspections of the property you deem necessary before committing to move forward with the purchase. This is recommended even if the seller has completed presale inspections.
Some buyers who have confidence in the seller’s home inspector hire that inspector to do a walk-through inspection with them so that the inspector can explain his report and answer any questions. The fee for this sort of inspection will usually be less than what the seller paid for the initial inspection and written report.
Don’t skip inspections to save money. It could cost you plenty in the long run if uninspected items turn out to be faulty and you have to pay to repair them.
Order a home inspection as soon as possible after your offer is accepted by the sellers. Most home inspections include recommendations for further inspections. If you don’t have the home inspection done early, you may not have enough time to complete all the further recommendations recommended, like roof or drainage inspections.
THE CLOSING: If you run out of time, ask the sellers for an extension.
Dian Hymer is a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience and is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author.
Very little that has to do with buying and selling residential real estate is black and white. This is often evident when inspections are done. And inspections are a critical part of a home sale transaction.
Buyers usually make offers to buy a home contingent on inspecting the property to their satisfaction. An inspection contingency gives buyers the permission to inspect the property and can give the buyers the right to withdraw from the contract without penalty, depending on how the contract is written.
For this reason, and to help sellers make accurate disclosures about their property, sellers often choose to have presale inspection reports done before they put their home on the market. Minimally, they order a “wood-destroying pests and organisms” inspection (loosely referred to as a “termite” inspection) and a home inspection.
If the home inspection recommends having an old roof inspected by a roofing contractor, it’s a good idea to follow through with this, and any other similar recommendation. Any presale inspections should be made available to buyers to review before they make an offer. Continue reading