Buying a home can be stressful and it can become even more stressful if you discover an issue after the fact that adds a costly burden. Fortunately, surprise repairs can be easily avoided. In most states, including Arizona and Nevada, there is a due diligence period in the home buying process where home inspections can take place. During this period, the buyer or buyer’s agent typically brings in a licensed inspector to perform a complete home inspection and a termite inspection. The purpose is to uncover any issues that may need repair, to reveal potential costs for repairs and to give the buyer an opportunity to negotiate with the seller.
To better understand the home inspection process and the options available to homebuyers during the process, we have outlined some helpful information.
Is a home inspection required?
A home inspection is not a requirement for securing a loan. While it is not required for a mortgage, it is highly recommended and common for most home purchases. As mentioned earlier, the due diligence period allows the homebuyer time to check the property to determine if there are any structural problems or potential repairs or a need for further inspections. Most homebuyers take advantage of this time to make sure they want to proceed with the purchase. In some cases, the buyer may waive the inspection – this is typically when the property is being purchased for a complete remodel or new build and the existing structure will be demolished.
What will the inspector check?
A licensed home inspector is trained to look for specific structural problems and potential issues. Expect a general home inspection to take one to four hours depending on the condition, age, and size of the property. An inspector will go through the property carefully checking its foundation, interior and exterior, walls, roof and attic. They also look for potential problems with electrical, plumping, HVAC, and pool systems. Many general home inspections will include a termite inspection. If not, that can be done separately. Once the inspector completes their initial inspection, they will provide a full report with recommendations. If they find any problems or concerns, they may recommend that additional inspections be done by a professional in that specific field. During the inspection process, the inspector is also required to notify buyers of any safety and code issues.
Who pays for inspections?
The home buyer is typically responsible for the costs of any inspections, but they may ask a seller to pay during the process. The buyer is also responsible for requesting additional inspections be performed. The initial inspection must be completed during the due diligence period. When an issue arises, it becomes part of the negotiation. The amount of time for additional inspections needs to be agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller Depending on the issues uncovered and results from negotiations – the buyer may choose to back out.
Who pays for the repairs?
After inspections are completed, there are a few options of how the buyer and seller can proceed. A buyer can request repairs be completed by the seller before the sale closes. The seller can agree to make all the repairs, respond with an offer to make some repairs, or refuse to make any repairs. The seller can also offer a dollar amount, crediting the buyer on the agreed upon purchase price, which provides the buyer with funds to make repairs after the sale closes. At that point in the negotiation the buyer can accept the seller’s offer, counter, or cancel the contract and back out of the sale. Most sellers are willing to make reasonable repairs, but bigger and more expensive repairs are often negotiated through a credit back. A lot depends on the issues uncovered, the estimated costs for repairs, how motivated the seller is too close, and other personal factors.
If you are in the process of purchasing or looking to purchase a home, our team at Landmark Title is available to assist with personalized title and escrow services. Contact us with any questions you may have about the process.