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.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult when unscrupulous sellers use tricks to hide defects. Here are the 10 most common seller tricks, and how you can recognise each one of the issues.
A home may be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. So it makes sense to do everything possible to ensure you’re making a sound investment.
Painting over problem areas.
Fresh paint itself is not a sign of dishonesty, but it can be used to cover water stains, mould and more. Many honest sellers use paint to update or freshen up walls. Take note if many areas were recently painted and mention that to the home inspector. You can also ask the seller for before-and-after photos.
Choosing to remain in the dark about potential problems are seller tricks.
By law, a seller cannot be held liable for problems he or she didn’t know about. Thus, a seller trick is not to allow home inspections to be performed when it’s time to sell. Another seller trick is not to agree to a reasonable inspection contingency time period. Some will even tell potential buyers they don’t want to know what the home inspection reveals. This is all the more reason to get a thorough home inspection. It’s a small price to pay to ensure you’re making a sound investment.
A Critical Home Inspection and Report include the really important parts of the home! It is a “Safe Home” inspection.
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.
With a critical inspection, I focus and report on the critical components of a home which are the roof, roof space, structure (inside and outside), windows and doors, and electricity and plumbing installations and any damp problems!
Therefore, a critical inspection is ideal if you only require an inspection of the major components of the home. Besides, it is more affordable! My fee for a Critical Home Inspection report is about ¾ of that for the Home Buyers or Sellers Inspection, depending on the distance I would need to travel to the inspection.
A Critical Inspection includes
A critical home inspection includes issues that are 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 geyser installations, windows and door issues. However, I only inspect the external and internal wall, floor and ceiling finish for signs of structural issues, damp or staining from moisture intrusion.
Unsafe electrical and gas installations are also part of a critical home inspection. I inspect and report on stoves, air conditioners and other built-in appliances. Moreover, I report on surface drainage, vegetation and foliage issues that may affect the structure and roof adversely.
Besides the geyser installation, I check the water supply to all other plumbing fixtures and fittings as well as the drainage from them. I report on all leaks or faults observed during the critical home inspection.
A Critical Inspection includes unsafe, functional or structural issues which, in my opinion, requires prompt remedial attention. Furthermore, I include any preventative remedial actions that are required to preserve the safety, functional or structural integrity of the home or major installation.
What is not included
Other external elements such as boundary and yard walls, the site, driveways, walkways, garden sheds etc. do not form part of the critical inspection. Furthermore, walls, floors and ceilings are inspected for damp and structural issues only! I also inspect BICs, sink and kitchen cupboards and counters for moisture intrusion only.
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 price and 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 _____ ) working 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 contingency expiry date
The minimum time period you should try and negotiate is 7 working days from acceptance of your offer. At a squeeze, 5 working days may be sufficient if there are no serious problems, but it puts a lot of pressure on everyone!
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 a roofing contractor to do further investigation of a problem in the ceiling space. But, for example, you might have to contact several roofing contractors 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. Furthermore, you should advise the seller on your decision to continue or to negotiate a better sales price or whether you intend to 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.
This is also why an inspection contingency and the time period is so important! It gives you time for specialist inspections if they are required!
Specialist inspections may include any of the following:
Disclaimer: This inspection contingency 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 or lawyer 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.