Property Inspections

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The purpose of a property inspection

A property inspection report is a list of issues with the property, such as roof damage or a crack in the foundation. After inspection, the buyer has the opportunity to negotiate with the seller and reach an agreement to either repair the property or to lower the sales price to compensate the buyer for the cost of the repairs. Alternatively, the seller can decide to sell the home as-is, in which case he or she is declining to make repairs or lower the sales price, and the buyer must decide whether or not to buy the home at the original agreed-upon sales price. You may have decided that the property is your dream home, but the property inspection is a much-needed reality check that will point out flaws of which you might not be aware. Important note New houses still need an inspection! You might think a new house is perfect, but that’s far from the truth. In fact, new homes can be even more dicey because they haven’t undergone a few inspections like the typical resale house. When I was in real estate, I mentored with an incredibly knowledgeable agent who would try to talk her clients out of new homes (which often pay agents exponentially more because of builder bonuses). If they still wanted a new house, she would recommend additional inspections at various points in the construction process, and she’d show up for every single one. During one inspection, she walked into the master bathroom. She noticed something was missing, and asked the builders to come in and see if they could figure it out. No one had a clue. Turns out they hadn’t put in plumbing for the toilet.

Why we have to review the seller’s disclosure notice?

The first step in the property inspection process is to review the seller’s disclosure notice, a form filled out by the property owner that outlines their knowledge of the properties present condition. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she can get the disclosure statement from the seller’s agent. Otherwise, you can contact the seller’s agent, or if the property is for sale by owner, you’ll get the notice from the seller directly. Sellers are required to include everything they know about their property. If, for example, the home was previously under contract, but the potential buyer walked away because a property inspection found major structural damage, the seller is required to include that in the seller’s disclosure notice. As the buyer it’s particularly helpful because if the house will require major structural repairs, and you’d rather pass, you can walk away from the property without having to shell out cash for your own property inspection to reveal the same issues.

How to Hire a property inspector?

If you carefully reviewed the sellers disclosure and you’re ready to move forward, the next step is to find an inspector. Rather than firing up your Internet browser and doing a Google search, contact people in your network to get referrals. Who has purchased a house in the past several years? Do you know anybody in the real estate industry? If you have a buyer’s agent, he or she also should have at least three names of inspectors for you to consider. After you’ve collected a small list of names, interview each candidate, asking questions including the following: Are you licensed ? Are you a member of a professional organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors? Do you have errors and omission insurance? What kind of ongoing training and education do you receive? Do you specialize in certain types of properties? (For example, new homes and certain beachfront properties might need a specialist.) What will the inspection cost? If hired, how soon can you give me a property inspection report? Finally, ask for a sample inspection report and see if it includes detailed descriptions of features and flaws in the home, which give more information about the property than a basic checklist. It’s important that you make time to attend the inspection of the home. Besides learning more about your AC and where the fuse box is located, believe it or not, you might find issues that the inspector would normally miss. For example, an inspector won’t check underneath every rug in the house, but you can, and you might discover a major crack in the concrete floors. Tip: Though the property inspection report will be invaluable after you purchase a home – it can serve as an agenda for which maintenance and repairs are highest priority – you can make it even more useful by filming the inspection. Don’t make yourself a nuisance, but tag along and film as the inspector goes from room to room. (You’ll probably want to let her crawl under the house on her own, though.)

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