It is your right under the terms of the contract to order a home inspection.
One of the first things that we have to do after we agree and execute a contract is have the home carefully inspected by a professional home inspector.
The HI’s job is to visit the property and conduct a detailed inspection of the home, which includes the exterior, the construction, the interior, the appliances and any part of the home that is relevant and can be considered to affect the safety and value of the property. This inspection should be conducted as soon as it is possible after a contract has been agreed to allow time for the inspector to conduct the inspection and make and deliver a detailed report to the buyer and the buyers agent.
What should you expect?
Hopefully the inspection report will show no major issues. Resold properties will generally have a range of odds and ends that could use some work and it’s fair to say that you should expect about 1% of the sale price and a good handyman to cover these issues if the sale is written in the “As-is” contract.
What if there is a major problem?
If an item is discovered above the 1% then it becomes an item that we will have to address with the seller. In most case the item can be addressed by negotiating the sales price or the seller may offer to resolve or contribute to the repair. If the issue cannot be resolved through negotiation then the buyer has the option to withdraw from the sale at no penalty – PROVIDING WE ARE STILL IN THE INSPECTION PERIOD. Which brings us back to an expedient home inspection. Generally the inspection period is 7-14 days which provides plenty of time to conduct the inspection and negotiate any items that require addressing.
What should I expect from the report?
You should expect to read and see pictures about every element of your home. The structure, appliances, pool, electrical, plumbing, roof, A units, water heater – everything. The home inspector will either note it as a problem or “Appears Serviceable”, which is HI language for it looks good to me.
Some things to be aware of:
When you build a house in Central Florida you are building mainly on a sand base, in the first couple of years the house “settles” and that settlement may cause small movement of the house causing hairline settlement cracks on the walls of the house. These are easily repaired with some calk and paint, however if they come up during the inspection it may become an issue with property insurance as the insurance companies like to have them cleaned up prior to issuing home insurance. We will try to have the seller repair them prior to close but if they are not done it’s in your best interests to have them addressed as soon as possible. Generally it’s a small job that only takes a couple of hours and is relatively inexpensive.
On a somewhat related subject, the report will most likely also offer the advice that the house needs painting on the outside. Exterior paint is very important in Florida as it protects the house from the elements. Special elasticated paint can fill in many of the cracks and should be done about every 8-10 years depending on the house and the quality of the original coating. Air conditioning: Possibly one of the main items in a home inspection, the AC unit is responsible for keeping the house cool and will very likely require a service to keep it in prime condition. Having an HVAC inspect, clean and service your system is a very good idea and something that will most likely be recommended to you by your HI.
What does it cost?
It depends on the size of the property but somewhere between $300-450 is where you will find your price point.
There is also an additional $100 fee for a WDO (wood destroying organism or termite report) which is something you might want to consider. And the additional service and fee of a mold inspection should one be required. Generally with the mold the inspector will suspect there may be a problem with the initial inspection and advise you that it may be something worth considering. It is rarely an issue but one that should be taken very seriously should there be a problem.
How do I have an inspection arranged?
We can recommend a home inspector to you, we have worked with some very good and reasonable experts and will be happy to share that knowledge with you.
I have questions
Call the HI, talk to him directly about the report. They are usually great at explaining the details and can give you advise on what to expect. We will also review the report and in many cases we may already be discussing items with the listing agent if they require immediate resolution.
The inspection report is one of your most important tools and checks on the condition of the property. It can be used to get an inside look at the current condition and has the additional benefit of letting you know what odds jobs will need attended to after you purchase.
The majority of the homes we look at are relatively new homes and very rarely do we see any major issues.
But it’s always best to have an expert eye review your investment on your behalf and your home inspector is your best friend when it comes to looking under the hood.