Surviving the Inspection Process

Laura Insley's picture
Surviving the Inspection Process

For those who are new to the homebuying game, the process, in general, can be quite overwhelming. There are many hoops to jump through in order to make sure the deal goes through without a hitch. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to come across at least a few bumps in the road.  Some hit snags related to finances or other administration issues; however, if you are trying to purchase an older home, you are more likely to face obstacles that arise during the inspection process. Sometimes, it can even kill a deal. Our real estate experts, Lorraine Thielen and Linda Hahn, have provided some insight into what you can expect during this stage of purchasing a home.

Contingency Period

Once a purchase agreement has been accepted, the contingency period begins. During this phase, it is the seller’s responsibility to make the buyer aware of the true condition of the property.  This information will be provided on a Transfer Disclosure Statement, as well as a seller questionnaire. There are situations where the seller may not live in the property and therefore unable to accurately describe the condition of the home. This is often the case when someone passes away and leaves his/her property to a loved one. When this happens, the new owners will only be able to provide as much knowledge as possible, ultimately disclosing that they are unaware of the true property condition. During this period of time, three major inspections are done: geological, home, and pest control. Subsequent results will offer a better gauge on the overall state of the property.

Home Inspection

The home inspection usually covers a wide array of features including, but not limited to the roof, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical, and water heater.  Inspectors also make sure that the home is up to code based on the latest rules and regulations. They will provide a written report stating any violations or repair recommendations. While the buyer usually pays for the inspection and report, any necessary repairs are negotiable.

Pest Control Inspection

The pest control inspection is done by a licensed inspector for pest control. During this process, the inspector is looking for any evidence of pest infestations, as well as dry rot (wood decay caused by fungus). Reports are classified by two sections: Section 1 covers issues that are currently causing damage to the property. They usually need to be corrected before a lender will make a home loan. Section 2 covers anything that is not currently causing damage, could pose a threat in the future if left untreated. Section 1 work is usually paid for by the seller, while Section 2 is negotiated. 

Geological Inspection

The geological inspection, also referred to as the geologic escrow report, is usually conducted if the stability of the ground beneath the structure is called into question. For example, homes that are located on a hillside may be exposed to potential geologic hazards. If requested, a soil engineer will perform an inspection to test the land on the property. During this time, research will be done on fault lines in the area and any past geological activity in the area. The buyer usually pays for this.

Repair Costs

With regard to inspection costs, your purchase sales agreement will specify who is responsible for each report. Once the inspections are complete, the findings will open negotiations for repair cost responsibility. If a property is listed “as is” and the seller specifies they will not be paying for any repairs to the home, then the buyer will take full responsibility for all services related to the inspection results; the seller must make this known upfront.

Additional Testing

Though these are the most common inspections during the homebuying process, you may opt for additional reports to be conducted. Some buyers want to take a deeper look into specific features if earlier findings suggest an issue. For example, if results from a pest control inspection show a possible mold infestation, then it would be a good idea to run further tests. 

Regardless of who pays for what, it is always recommended to have these inspections completed as soon as possible. You need to know what you are getting yourself into once you take complete ownership over the property. You don’t want to get stuck with a home that appears to be beautiful on the outside, but is actually rotting away on the inside. This is a huge investment; be smart and be prepared!

Linda Hahn and Lorraine ThelenAbout Our Experts

Lorraine Thielen & Linda Hahn bring over 25 years of experience to help you buy or sell your home and make informed decisions in today's market. As realtors for RE/MAX TerraSol and specializing in the Orange County market, Thielen and Hahn offer a wealth of real estate knowledge to take the stress out of homebuying/selling. Visit their website for more information and to view current listings. 

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