Both Buyers and Sellers Benefit from Inspections
A home inspection assists The Seller in providing accurate disclosure.
A home inspection assists The Buyer who seeks to know as much as possible about the condition of the home.
- If a buyer delays the professional inspection process, his/her refundable deposit is placed at risk. If the sale is closed without the benefit of a professional inspection, the buyer and seller will stand alone to define and resolve unforeseen problems in the home.
- Home sellers need a professional inspection and report to protect themselves from liability of future non-disclosure claims. The inspection report helps in marketing to potential buyers, providing up-front information to determine if maintaining this home will meet their financial position.
A professional inspector is a third party, independent of the transaction. He or she visually inspects and detects adverse conditions in a home. He/she investigates, operates and systematically identifies the major systems and components of the home. The inspector addresses health and safety issues, makes recommendations and counsels on repair options and maintenance. As a buyer, be prepared to attend the inspection. Professional inspectors will not perform any repairs, eliminating the potential for conflict of interest. Health and safety concerns, adverse conditions and required re-sale corrections are discussed and documented by the inspector. Issues can be anything from minor roof repairs to a fire hazard. An inspector is a trained generalist who identifies and sorts through the multitude of major systems and components, meeting state required "physical condition disclosure" requirements.
See below for tips on choosing an inspector.
The Inspection Report
The inspector’s report is an important tool in real estate transactions. It is the only document that details the product being bought and sold. Once conditions are defined, it is up to the buyer to decide if the current condition of the home will meet his or her finanicial and family needs. The buyer decides what is aceptable and what is not. Sellers are not required to make the corrections, although re-negotiations are often the result of facts documented at the inspection. It is information needed to make some educated business decisions.
Tips for Choosing a Home Inspector
- Does the inspector have formal training? Experience in contracting constitutes a good background, but does not substitute for graduation from an inspector training facility.
- Is the inspector a member of a professional association? Membership status indicates that the individual has passed a competency examination in the field of home inspection, is required to follow recognized standards and a code of ethics, and is required to maintain a minimum level of continuing education each year.
- Is the inspector properly insured? Look for a cover or declaration page showing proof that the inspector named is insured, not only for professional liability (errors and omissions) but for generally liability as well.
- Will the inspector provide you with a list of references? Ask for names and phone numbers of past clients and other real estate professionals with whom he has previously worked. Make sure the list includes recent as well as older inspections.
- Does the inspector offer to repair noted conditions? Performing repairs on inspected properties is a conflict of interest and a violation of Business and Professional Code 7197, which prohibits an inspector from performing repairs or improvements in inspected properties for one year from the date of inspection.
Marty Siegel, GRI, CRS
Coldwell Banker Burnet