Blog, Know the Facts
Oct 17, 2019
I am getting ready to put my home on the market and buy another home, what do I need to know about the home inspection process and what is required by the standard real estate purchase contract?
A home inspection by a licensed professional home inspector is a good thing to have before you put your home on the market and when buying a new home.
Our standard contract of sale requires that all electrical, plumbing, HVAC, appliances and other systems be in good working order, normal wear and tear expected. Further the structure must be physically sound, the roof free of leaks and the fireplace, chimney and pool in proper working order as well. It also says that a seller is not required to bring a house up to current code if the property complied with the code in force at the time it was built. If any upgrade or improvement was made to the property which required a building permit, the building permit process would have required that the improvement be brought up to code at that time.
When you put your home on the market, it is best to get a home inspection so that you can identify the items that need to be repaired and have them addressed prior to putting the house on the market. It is best to ask your inspector to be incredibly picky so that you can identify as much as you can that could be objectionable to a buyer.
Remember that an inspection is merely a snapshot in time and anything could break between the time you do the inspection and when a buyer inspection is done but at least you have an idea of what to expect.
Once you sell your house and you are under contract to purchase another home, you will want to hire an inspector to inspect your new home for you. The inspector will find all the items that are not perfect or that are in disrepair and send it to you and your agent.
When you receive the inspection, you must decide what items you require to be fixed and which ones are normal wear and tear. In most cases you are not buying a new house and wear and tear is to be expected. A seller is required to make sure that all the systems and equipment are in good working order but that is all the contract requires.
I see many cases where a buyer becomes very unreasonable about what they are requiring the seller to repair. If there is something that concerns you about the house, age of the systems, roof, equipment, or cosmetic issues, they need to be specifically addressed up front in the contract. For example, the inspector may say that the HVAC is in good working order but is beyond it’s useful life. The seller only has to make sure the HVAC system is working. If you are concerned with the age, you must ask them to replace it when you are negotiating the contract, not after the inspector tells you it is older.
Be sure to go over the Seller Disclosure statement before you purchase a home and take note of what you may object to as far as age or condition of the home and its systems. If there is something that alarms you, address it with either offer price or add a requirement that the Seller address this issue in the contract.
In summary, whether you are putting your house on the market or buying a new one, make sure you have the right expectations for the inspection based on the age of the house and the price you are asking or paying. Don’t let the inspection be a catalyst to start negotiations all over again.
A knowledgeable real estate agent can surely guide you through the process.
Expect the Best!
Julie Toon Timms
Hilton Head Island Real Estate Brokers, Inc.
If you want to make a little piece of The Island your own, you need more than just a road map and a REALTOR. You need a partner who can make things happen.
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