Since almost every contract, even those to be bought in "as is" condition, are contingent on a home inspection, we want to touch on some of the more obvious ones that we strongly recommend. These will typically be done after your put a contract on a home, during what is commonly referred to as the "due diligence" period. This can range anywhere from 7 to 14 days, depending on how you negotiated your offer to purchase.
General Home Inspection:
It is always wise advice to get a home inspection during any home purchase, even new construction. They will typically run from $250 up to $500 and will vary according to size of home and types of services included. Although not required by the lender in most circumstances, this will be your one time to get the home checked out in hopes to alleviate any surprises after close. This inspection includes roof, heating and air-conditioning, electrical, plumbing, appliances, and general condition of the home. In many cases, the inspector will find something that the current owner in unaware of, and also gives you the chance to check problems that might or might not have been listed on the residential property disclosure form.
Should the inspector find something that goes beyond the realm of their knowledge or expertise, they might recommend you bring another specialist to evaluate. This is typically the case when the heating or air-conditioning isn't performing up to the acceptable levels with which it was designed.
Inspecting a home being sold in "as is" condition:
If you are purchasing a home that the seller has agreed to sell without doing any repairs, this doesn't mean that you are not allowed to perform any inspections. What it typically means is that the seller wants it made fairly clear that at current price and terms, they don't want to have to do any repairs. Should you discover something that is overwhelming during the inspection and the seller still refuses to repair, our contracts state that you have the right to walk away from the deal and get a return of your earnest deposit. Many times, an "as is" sale is one where the seller never occupied the home such as a rental property, estate sale, or relocation company.
What happens during a home inspection:
If at all possible, we would recommend that the purchaser either be at the entire inspection or at least show up at the end to catch the wrap up. Being there with the inspector can help you understand what is being done and helps you have a better grasp of any problems by viewing them first hand and hearing about them directly from the inspector. What they say in person can sometimes sound quite differently that what you might read in a their report. You can also learn a lot about your home and how it functions by being at the inspection, getting helpful tips on preventive maintenance and safety issues.
After the inspection is complete, you would receive a report listings all the checks made during the inspection and any problems found as a result of those checks.
Once you have the report and have had a chance to review, you next step will be to determine which repairs you want to request that the seller perform. Since the contract has inspection clauses that spell our specifically what repairs can be considered cause for action, you will want to review those limitations and try to stay within them when making requests. For example, while defective roofing shingles that result in a leaking roof is considered a contractual repair, regular roofing maintenance issues that haven't resulted in any current roof leaks might not be. The most obvious non contractual issues are anything that is cosmetic only, such as repainting scuffed walls or peeling paint on exterior trim. Significant items to be repaired should be performed by licensed contractors so that all building codes can be followed during the repairs. This also ensures that the workmanship will be warranted for a certain amount of time in case problems arise as a result of those repairs later.
You will need to give the seller a reasonable amount of time to address any issues found. You will also want to find out any deal breakers as soon as possible so that you don't waste any more money on appraisals, surveys, or a title search. If negotiations break down during the inspection process, you don't have to walk away from the deal. This is just your right should the seller not agree to repair contractual issues required per the inspection clause of the contract.
Other Inspections you will want to consider:
Inspections that may or may not be considered an option by your home inspector include pool inspections, termite inspections (called the CL-100), Radon gas detection tests, mold tests, and septic inspections. There may be others non specific to your home that might come up during this process as well. Each of these will include an extra inspection fee for the added service, typically ranging somewhere around $100 per extra inspection.
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