When writing an offer to purchase a home there are conditions designed to give protection to you, should you decide against completing the purchase. The inspection contingency is one of these conditions which ensures you have the opportunity to get a "good look" at the home you are buying to make sure it is in the condition that you expect it to be.
Why get a home inspection?
The purpose of a home inspection is to help you fully understand all the aspects of the home you are buying and to help you make an objective, informed decision. An inspection contingency gives you, the buyer a specified period of time to inspect the home to your satisfaction. Keep in mind that all homes may have some problems or issues, even new construction. Most problems have solutions, and a home inspection can help you understand the scope of an issue, as well as any associated costs, while the inspection contingency is still in place. Your earnest money is protected during the time frame of the inspection contingency. And if, during this time you are dissatisfied with the findings of the inspection, you have the option of terminating the purchase and getting your earnest money refunded.
What is a home inspection?
In a home inspection, a licensed professional home inspector takes an in-depth, unbiased look at your potential new home, covering many important aspects such as the roof, attic and crawl spaces. The inspector will evaluate the physical condition (structure, construction and mechanical systems), identify items that need to be repaired or replaced, and estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems and structure.
You may want to consider additional inspections for things that the general inspection does not cover - examples include the sewer line, buried oil tanks, foundation or structural elements, on site septic systems, geotechnical concerns, and land use or zoning issues.
How to find a home inspector
I am happy to refer you to several home inspectors that have served my clients well. Another excellent resource for general inspectors is the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Western Washington Chapter. I have worked with many inspectors on the list.
Common specialty inspections include the following:
- Sewer Scope
- Oil Tank Locating Service
- Roofing Specialist
- Pest Inspector
- Foundation Specialist
- General Contractor
- Geotechnical Consultant
After the home inspection
Once the inspection is complete, you will receive a verbal summary and a full written report including photographs. Some inspectors provide the written report on site and some will email it to you a day or two following the inspection. We will review the report carefully together and decide how to proceed. You will have the option of approving the inspection and removing the contingency, terminating the sale immediately, or negotiating with the seller to address particular items on the report. Sometimes the seller will be open to making repairs, and sometimes they will be more open to a 'buyer credit' for repairs after closing.
Every situation is different and there are many factors that will influence the negotiation. Rest assured that as your trusted advisor, my many years of experience will guide you through the inspection process and protect you contractually at all times.
Pre-inspections are often a necessary and important strategy in a market characterized by limited inventory and strong buyer demand for homes. A preinspection is when the buyer conducts the inspection prior to presenting an offer to purchase. It allows the buyer to make a completely informed offer to purchase. It allows for a stronger offer position that does not contain an inspection contingency. Not all sellers will allow preinspections. I will advise you when and if a preinspection will be important for any particular property.
If you would like to talk further about buying a home in Seattle, contact me for a free consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.