December 06, 2018
How to Make the Most of Your Prospective Home Inspection
The home inspection is a vital stage in the process on the way to closing a home. Prospective buyers will hire an inspector after coming to a purchase agreement with the property’s seller, and we here at Topouzis & Associates, P.C. recommend that the buyer always be sure to be in attendance at the property as the inspector practices his service, so as to ask questions that may arise as the inspection proceeds. A technical report can be hard to decipher, and, as they say, there’s no better way to learn than by firsthand experience.
Since the inspection offers an opportunity to renegotiate for repair or price-reduction in the case that any issues are discovered with the property, it’s key to know which sorts of issues the inspector considers major problems worthy of concern. You don’t want to get caught up in the little things. Cosmetic concerns are to be dealt with after the sale has gone through, not something to be put on the seller—who may become annoyed with a long list of petty requests and end up refusing to make the change in the hope it will mean release from the contract and an opportunity to be approached by a more reasonable potential buyer. What the inspection is looking for is structural issues and issues of potential safety. It’s always easier to get a seller’s acquiescence to a request when it is backed-up by an expert opinion.
Among the sorts of issues to call to your inspector’s attention, or to ask about:
- Any issues that may be in violation of local code. This would include dangerous stairways or rickety additional structures (like decks). A seller is almost always required to deal with these if requested to do so.
- Water-penetration issues. Moldy walls might be an issue (especially if it’s the toxic kind of mold, which your inspector might be able to determine by sight). So may too much moisture in the basement. As with the above, this falls under the “seller must deal with it” category.
- Electrical wiring. Particularly if it is ungrounded, which is possible if the home was built in the 1950’s or earlier and hasn’t been subject to upgraded electrical service. This sort of request—and the rest of the requests that follow in this list—may be denied by the seller, especially if they do not fear losing the sale to the requesting party.
- Leaking pipes or existing outdated piping (a good indication of over-ripe age: if the metal appears to be galvanized).
- Outdated heating or air conditioner systems.
- Outdated or failing sewer pipes.
- Roof replacement or repair.
Once the repairs are made or the buyer has accepted that they will not be but proceeds with the purchase anyway, it’s onward to closing. We always recommend that those buying an existing home ensure they don’t take on any unforeseen future debt by purchasing title insurance. We here at Topouzis & Associates, P.C. are experienced at title searches, and we are supported in supplying title insurance by numerous underwriters. Contact us if you’re getting into a new property, and we’ll put our vast experience to work for you, ensuring clear sailing through the closing process and beyond.