A buyer inspection is an inspection which a home buyer requests to determine the condition of a property he or she wishes to buy. A buyer inspection is also called a property condition assessment, a pre-purchasing home inspection, a property assessment inspection or a home inspection. If the inspection is for a new home it may be a snag list inspection, a new home inspection or a defects list inspection.
Most home buyers don’t realize that they are responsible for home inspections. In order to discover defects in the house, you agree to hire the home inspector. This also gives you an opportunity to negotiate a better price. However, you will have to shoulder the cost.
Remember to leave yourself a sufficient time to find an inspector and bring him out to view the property. A home inspection is not something you want to rush through last minute.
Financially, you need to budget for the cost of inspection services. While your initial reaction may be to baulk at the price and wonder why the seller isn’t covering this cost.
Remember, paying for the home inspection is for your benefit. The home inspector really works for you, not the seller. He or she is there to point out all the potential problems in the home to you.
A Critical Home Inspection and report include the really important parts of the home! It is a “Safe Home” inspection.
With a Critical Inspection, I focus and report on the critical components of a home which are the roof, structure (inside and outside), windows and doors, and electricity and plumbing installations.
This inspection is an ideal inspection for both home buyers and sellers! The inspection is for those clients who do not require the full Buyers or Sellers Home Inspection.
Therefore, a Critical Inspection is ideal if you only require inspection of the major components of the home. Besides, a Critical Home Inspection is more affordable! My fee for a Critical Home Inspection report is about ¾ of that for the Home Buyers or Sellers Inspection.
A Critical Inspection includes
A Critical Inspection includes issues which are frequently NOT plainly obvious to any observant layman.
These include structural cracks in walls, ceilings and floors. Issues such as all damp, roof leaks, illegal or unsafe geysers, windows and door issues. However, I only inspect the internal wall, floor and ceiling finish for signs of damp or staining from moisture intrusion.
Unsafe electrical and gas installations are also part of the inspection. This means stoves and other built-in appliances are included in your report. In addition, I also report surface drainage, vegetation and foliage issues which may affect the structure and roof adversely.
A Critical Inspection includes unsafe, functional or structural issues which, in my opinion, requires prompt remedial attention. Furthermore, remedial action is required to preserve the safety, functional or structural integrity of the home or major installation.
It does not include
Other external elements such as boundary and yard walls, the site, swimming pools, driveways, wall, ceiling and floor finishes, walkways, garden sheds etc. do not form part of the critical inspection. I only inspect BIC’s, sink and kitchen cupboards and counters for moisture intrusion.
Imagine what could go wrong with your home purchase! Houses are made up of hundreds of different parts and materials from a nail to a roof tile and much, much more!
New or used, the home purchase will most likely be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make! Therefore, with this type of investment, it only makes sense to have a professional home inspection done beforehand.
If you’re thinking, “Why do I need to spend the time and money on a home inspection?”
My question to you is “Why take any unnecessary chances with your hard-earned money?
Protecting your home purchase
An inspection and report will give you a clear, concise picture of the important components and systems of the home. Therefore, you can make an informed decision on the purchase of the home. In doing so, you avoid buying a new home only to spend thousands of rand on unexpected or unforeseen problems.
My thorough, impartial inspection will let you identify any minor or major repairs or maintenance issues. Furthermore, the inspection report is a valuable tool in the bargaining stage to address any issues before finalising your home purchase.
Moreover, you will have a highly trained, experienced and dedicated professional on your side. My report will help you make the right decision with your property purchase.
Don’t make the mistake so many other home buyers are making over and over again!
Protect your investment by having a home inspection!
Put a Home Inspection Contingency in Your “Offer to Purchase”
Home Inspection Contingencies
If you don’t believe in having a home inspection you should realise that your investment is at risk. In reality, a home inspection contingency is your only safeguard where the voetstoots clause forms part of the sales contract.
In South Africa, the voetstoots clause is part of the purchase contract in most of the property sales. But, unfortunately, you will not find any home inspection contingencies in any purchase contracts.
You may not consider that a home inspection contingency is a big deal! In that case, ask yourself why a seller will refuse to consider your offer that contains a home inspection contingency. It has occurred to some of my clients! I told them to consider it a lucky escape!
In addition, a seller selling a house below market value most probably has serious defects. Don’t fall for reasons like the seller is leaving for overseas or retiring to the coast.
A home inspection contingency should be added as part of the purchase contract when you have a home inspection. It means you can cancel the sale or try to negotiate repairs based on the results of the inspection.
In most instances, you should negotiate for at least a week to conduct a home inspection. The time can be shortened or increased during offer negotiations.
An example of a home inspection contingency
“The Buyers’ offer is contingent upon a satisfactory inspection within 7 (or _____ ) days. Upon receipt of the results of such inspection, the Buyers may request in writing at any time within the agreed period that the Sellers make certain repairs or that the Sellers reduce the sales price to compensate for such defect(s). Such a request to repair or reduce the price does not terminate the contract and the Sellers shall have _____ days from receipt of such request to agree to make such repairs or reduce the sales price. If the Sellers do not agree, the Buyers shall have _____ days to waive the contingency and accept the property “as-is” or to declare the contract null and void. “
The home inspection contingency expiry date
Setting the date that a home inspection contingency should be released depends on the contingency you negotiate with the seller. It may not automatically expire unless you take a specific action such as signing a contingency release. That is if a release is part of the contingency agreement. Therefore, if it expires before you have it inspected, you lose the right to have the home inspected.
When your sales contract has a home inspection contingency, it is important to conduct the inspection as soon as possible. I may recommend that you call an electrician to do further investigation of the wiring in the ceiling space. However, for example, you might have to contact several electricians before finding someone available in the time frame you need.
Therefore, it is very important to keep the seller and agent in the picture of what is happening. You should advise the seller on your decision to continue or withdraw from the purchase contract before the expiry date. If you don’t you may have to honour the conditions of the sale.
Types of Home Inspections
A home inspection involves many components, which are primarily structural and visual. However, if I discover defects beyond my area of expertise I will recommend that you consult an expert.
For example, if the home’s water pressure is low, I will recommend an inspection by a licensed plumber. There could be a blockage the water supply system, or the plumbing pipes could be corroded. I may not be able to identify such defects by noticing the low water pressure. If I recommend further inspections in the report, you may wish to call a specialist for advice.
Specialist inspections include any of the following:
Pest and termites
Serious structural cracks
Heating and air conditioning
Foundation and basement
Sewer or septic system
Trees and vegetation
Water systems and plumbing
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Real estate procedures and documents may vary. Consult a real estate professional in your area if you have specific questions about this subject.
I posted on my blog, in November last year, about damp walls that arise as a result not having gutters on your home to control the flow of rainwater off your roof.
On Saturday I inspected a four-year-old property that had a
one tile overhang on the roof, no gutters but had paving surrounding the house.
However, the external walls of the house were in a desperate state because of the three most destructive mistakes architects, developers, builders and homeowners make!
As a result, I’m going to repeat part of the issues mentioned in my blog again!
Damp walls caused by no gutters
Gutters collect the rainwater runoff from the roof, discharging it into downpipes which conveys the rainwater away from the house in a controlled manner. In addition, they also protect the timber roof structure at the eaves of the house. Furthermore, gutters protect the exterior walls, windows and doors of the house and its foundation from damp and potential damage.
The splashing up against the walls was the most serious cause of the penetrating damp on the walls of the house. Moreover, the crazing cracking (spiderweb-like fine cracking) in the plasterwork was the main indicator of the penetrating damp caused splashing up of rainwater. No cracking was observed higher up on the walls.
Even if your house has a reduced overhang at the eaves, gutters will still provide the required protection against heavy rain and wind storms your house may be subjected to.
Insufficient roof overhang at the eaves
Roofs with no gutters which have a two-tile
overhang (600mm in the case of a metal roof) or less will allow water to pour
from the roof close to the walls, windows and doors and the foundation.
When you’re buying a home, you don’t want to skip the home inspection step. Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process. An inspection by an InterNACHI certified home inspector can prevent you from purchasing a home with serious issues such as mould, structural defects, faulty plumbing and more.
Firstly, you should insert a contingency in the “Offer To Purchase” which states that the sale is dependant on a satisfactory home inspection. In addition, you should also agree on an “Inspection Contingency Period” which will give you time to have a home inspection done. Furthermore, this period should be between four to seven days depending on how soon you can get an appointment with a home inspector.
Based on the results of a home inspection, the contingency will then give you the right to cancel the sales agreement. In addition, you can walk away from the transaction without recourse if you are unsatisfied with the seller’s response to a request for an inspection and inspection contingency.
You lose the right to have the home inspected and to negotiate over defects found in a home once the contingency period ends.
What is a home inspection?
As a home buyer, it is your right to have your future home inspected for potential faults and defects. Therefore, don’t skip this step!