Know What You are Buying. Have a Home Inspection
We have all known of someone who after moving into their new home discovers a leak in the roof, not enough hot water to take a shower in or the air conditioning unit quits in the middle of August. These situations could have been avoided if the buyer had invested in a home inspection before purchasing a home. A home inspection is hiring a professional to physically examine the home and provide detailed information on the condition of the home including the foundation, structure, roof and all of the systems of the home. The buyer is encouraged to attend the inspection so that the inspector can explain any items that are deficient or could potentially become a problem in the future. An itemized written report is prepared and reviewed by the inspector and prospective buyer. This is a great time to discuss preventative maintenance and make notes for scheduling these routine items in your calendar.
When preparing a purchase contract, make your offer subject to and contingent upon having the right to perform a professional inspection and maintain the right to either cancel or ask the seller to correct any significant items that need to be addressed. Your earnest money should be fully refundable if the buyer should decide to cancel or if the buyer and seller cannot agree on repairs. This contingency should be in writing and appropriate time lines should be spelled out indicating when the inspection will be done, and how many days the seller will have to review and respond to any requests the buyer may have as a result of the inspection.
There are disclosure laws that require sellers to reveal any problems that they are aware of to the buyers. Sellers may not know of serious problems and they won’t disclose the information if they are unaware of it. If the seller or the inspector discloses a problem, it may be wise to have a specialist take a closer look. For instance, a qualified roofer or pool contractor could provide a more in-depth look.
Finding the right inspector is not as easy as it may seem. Several inspectors should be interviewed. Review the following to make the best choice. Are they qualified?
Since January 1, 2003 Arizona has required home inspectors to be certified with Arizona Board of Technical Registration, BTR. A list of certified inspectors can be found at www.btr.state.az.us/RegistrantSearch.asp
. Is the inspector a member of ASHI, The American Society of Home Inspectors? ASHI provides members with training and certification and adhere to a code of ethics. Ask real estate professionals and friends and associates for references and ask the inspection companies for a list of references. You will want to feel comfortable with and have good communication with the inspector.
Ask for a sample report and what the scope of the report includes. Will the inspector include the roof or the pool in the report? Check to see if the sample report is easy to understand and that it includes all structural aspects and systems of the home. Be sure that safety hazards are included on the report. Be certain that the inspection company carries Errors and Omissions Insurance and is fully insured.
Get a price quote and compare price based on services included, experience and qualifications. An average home inspection in Phoenix should run approximately $200-$300, a small investment to make in what is one of our largest purchases. The knowledge gained from this report could save thousands of dollars and headaches or confirm that the house is the right one for you.