You’ve made an offer on your dream home. However, will the heating system last the winter? Is the wiring up to code? Are the roof and foundation structurally sound?
Now is the time to hire a home inspector to provide an objective view of the house and identify any hidden problems. While an inspection is not required to complete the purchase, most buyers like the peace of mind one provides. Time can be allotted for the inspection in the signed contract so any issues can be addressed before closing.
How do you find a reputable inspector? “Asking your sphere of friends about recommending a good home inspector is a great way to decide on the right one,” Stephens Real Estate co-owner Chris Earl suggested. “As Realtors, we have contact information for multiple local inspectors as well. Also, there are a couple of different certifications that inspectors can earn that are good tools for qualifying an inspector.”
Once you have a list of names, do your research on each one, since the state of Kansas does not license inspectors. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Also, make sure they are insured, including errors and omissions insurance to cover any costs should the inspector miss something or make a mistake. It’s a good idea to look for inspectors who are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (www.homeinspector.org), a non-profit professional organization that requires members to meet specific professional and ethical business standards. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (www.nachi.org) is another good resource. The websites for both organizations allow you to search for member inspectors in this area.
After the inspection is complete, the buyer and Realtor review the findings with the inspector. Don’t be surprised if some problems are found. No house is perfect. This doesn’t mean you should bail on the purchase. What it does mean is the buyer and seller will need to reach a reasonable compromise on how to deal with the problems.
It all depends on the terms of the contract.
Earl explained, “For example, the most common method is for the buyer to have the opportunity to ask for repairs after the results of the home inspection. The seller can make all repairs and the deal moves forward. If the seller declines to make some or all repairs, the buyer has the option to opt out of the contract or proceed.”
Another option is to do an “As Is” sale. After the inspection, the buyer can give a thumbs up or down on the sale without the seller making any repairs. Or a “deductible” can be requested, where the buyer pays for part of the repair cost.
“As with many facets of the real estate purchase process, a well-trained Realtor can help you decide the inspection procedure that works best for you and write the contract accordingly,” Earl said.
Hometown Lawrence is the Lawrence Journal-World's real estate resource section and website. For more information on area real estate listings, go to HometownLawrence.com.