You’ve found the perfect home. You’re excited and ready to make a written offer to purchase, but how can you be sure there are no structural defects or unseen items requiring repair or replacement?
You’ll address your concerns in the inspection addendum that accompanies the written purchase offer. These documents govern the buying process, inspection process, and ultimately control the transaction’s closing and your possession of the home. The inspection addendum calls for the inspections you request to be performed within a stated time period (usually somewhere between ten and fifteen days) by a qualified, insured home inspector. It includes the timing for notifying the seller of habitability issues, timing for the seller to respond to your requested repairs, and methods for correcting habitability problems that are discovered during the inspections.
Most inspections include structural components such as the roof, floor systems, and the foundation. Plumbing, electrical, heating/air conditioning, and appliances that will remain with the home are carefully checked. The inspector will provide a written report itemizing habitability items in need of attention and many helpful tips about non-habitability issues. You will review the report and with the help of your agent, you’ll prepare a post-inspection addendum that will spell out the habitability items you would like to have repaired.
The seller may agree to make some or all of the repairs, offer you a dollar amount to be given to you at closing for the repairs, or the seller may decide they are unwilling or financially unable to make the repairs. The seller may have priced the home under market value because they are not financially able to make repairs. Or, the seller may feel the items you are requesting are not habitability issues.
If the seller is unwilling or unable to make the repairs, you’ll have to decide if you want the home even if you’ll need to make some repairs. If you really love the home and you (or a friend or family member)are handy enough to make the repairs, you may decide to go ahead with the purchase.
If your loan requires the repairs be completed prior to closing, you may decide to make the repairs that are required by the appraiser even though you don’t own the property yet. The appraiser may require that some areas are painted or that a railing be placed beside the steps.
If the seller agrees to make the habitability repairs, you’ll probably want to do a “final walk through” before the closing to check that the repairs were made. Take your post-inspection addendum with you so you won’t forget what items you and the seller have agreed to have repaired.
With the help of a great real estate agent and a qualified home inspector, you can complete your home purchase with confidence. Now all you need to do is line up your friends and relatives to help you move all your stuff into your wonderful new home.