The type of inspections you need really depends on the property you are purchasing and what your contract states the seller is responsible to repair. There are various contracts with different inspection language in them so be sure that your offer reflects your expectations before it is presented.
Most properties should have a general inspection performed by a licensed professional to examine all the systems and components of a property to determine its true and current condition. If a general inspection finds items that cause you concern, a specific inspection by a specialist should be considered.
When a general inspection reports a deficiency it will, in most cases, suggest that you get a specialist to further investigate the problem. I see this most often with roofs, pools, HVAC systems and wood rot. For example, if a general inspection states that there is staining on the inside of the roof, it is a good idea to hire a professional roof inspector to determine if there is an active leak. Stains on the inside of a roof will not disappear after a leak in a roof is fixed.
So what should you expect a seller to repair? Remember… in most cases the home is not new construction, and normal wear and tear is to be expected. Consider the age of the home. If you have any concerns after viewing the home, it is best to address those concerns with your agent and be sure specific repair items are dealt with in your offer prior to presenting the contract to the seller.
For example, if you know that the home has a 16 year old HVAC system, you should also expect that it will show up on an inspection as being at the end of normal life. The seller is not required to replace an old unit that is in good working order. Rather, sellers are normally only required to fix an HVAC that does not work. In this situation, you may wish to make adjustments to the price of your offer or negotiate for a home warranty rather than bringing up the age of the HVAC system once you receive the results of your inspection.
Another thing to note is that some inspectors will find almost every blemish one can imagine in the property, report any variations from today’s building codes, and include items that may not, in fact, be deficiencies. General inspections may include suspicions or uncertainties that are best referred to a specialist for a more qualified opinion. Remember… just because something is found on an inspection report, it doesn’t always mean that the seller is required to address it. Also, keep in mind that unless the house is new construction, you should, in most cases, expect things to be a little less than perfect. After all, we are talking about a used home.
Therefore, your repair requests need to address those items that are required to be fixed by the seller per the language of your contract. Additionally, you will want to make requests to resolve issues you feel you just can’t live with or that would cost more than your budget to repair.
I also want you to be aware that there are some limitations as to what can be identified on an inspection. For instance, inspectors are not allowed to empty cabinets or move a seller’s personal possessions in order to look under or behind them. As such, an inspector cannot report what they do not know about or see.
Know that an inspection is merely a snapshot in time. Anything can happen between an inspection and the closing. It is important to do a thorough walk through to make sure the property is in the same condition that it was in when it was inspected and repaired. In fact, it may be prudent to hire the inspector to re-inspect the property at the final walk through, just to be sure.
Below is a list of inspectors in the area that our clients have used in recent purchases:
I hope this has helped you better understand the process. Having an experienced and knowledgeable team representing your interests is always the best way to avoid unforeseen setbacks, costs and disappointments. We are part of your team, and are here to help guide you through every step of the home buying process.
Please feel free to call me with any questions or specific concerns. I am here for you.