Home inspections are an important part of the real estate transaction and home ownership. Inspection reports provide important decision-making information for buyers, sellers, real estate agents and homeowners.
You have made a decision to purchase a new home. Whether it is a condominium on the intracoastal in Palm Beach, an equestrian home in Wellington to keep your horses on, a townhome in Boynton Beach, the dream beach cottage in Jupiter or a home in Atlantis to escape to on weekends, you need to know all there is to know about this new home. You are making what may be the largest purchase in your lifetime.
Three or four visits to the house will get you familiar with the layout, the property and give you a chance to come up with decorating ideas. It does not tell you whether or not the electrical system is correctly wired, if there is a problem in the attic because there is a leak in the roof, the shower in bathroom #4 needs a new control stem in the shower or there is a structural crack in the exterior wall of the garage.
A qualified and licensed home inspector can provide you with a written report that may save you a lifetime of headaches and countless amounts of money.
WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?
A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation.
What does a home inspection include?
The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.
WHEN DO WE CALL FOR THE HOME INSPECTION?
Typically, a home inspector is contacted immediately after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. When we prepare the contract with you we will make a decision together as to how we want to handle the inspections and potential associated repairs. The contract will outline the time period for which the inspection needs to be completed and the requests, if any, presented to the seller. The contract will clearly outline the timeframes and process for inspections and repairs.
DO I HAVE TO BE THERE?
While it’s not required that you be present for the inspection, it is highly recommended. You will be able to observe the inspector and ask questions as you learn about the condition of the home and how to maintain it. The All about the Buyer team will be present at every inspection for our clients!
WHAT IF THE REPORT REVEALS PROBLEMS?
No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house, only that you will know in advance what to expect. If your budget is tight, or if you don’t want to become involved in future repair work, this information will be important to you. If major problems are found, a seller may agree to make repairs. Together we will determine the best strategy for repairs when we negotiate the contract up front and address any inspection issues that may arise during the process.
MUNICIPAL LIEN SEARCH
A home inspection does not include as standard a Municipal Lien Search. This is an especially critical component when you are buying a home as is, work as recently been completed on a home or even an addition was added on to the home since the current seller took title.
So you are thinking about purchasing a property. How do you know if there will be additional hidden charges? Won’t the title search reveal any liens on the property? Did the previous owner have any unresolved violations or building permits?
To be sure, a title search (which will be completed by the Title Insurance Company and/or an Attorney) will uncover any recorded liens on a property. However, few people are aware that there can be many other unrecorded charges on a property that can eventually result in a lien. These charges will no longer be the responsibility of the former property owner but if they go unpaid, they can become the responsibility of the current property owner. The same follows for unresolved violations, building permits which have not been closed properly or unpermitted structures. The new owner can become liable for an overlooked utility bill as well in some cases.
A Municipal Lien Search will thoroughly investigate any violations, permits, unrecorded liens, taxes and utilities that are associated with the property. Nevertheless, per the current as-is contract, it is ultimately the buyer’s responsibility to obtain this information during the inspection period.