I want to review the wording of the home inspections. Sometimes while an inspector is informing you about a home and things to look out for or do in the future, it sounds like a check list for to do’s for the Sellers. I wanted to remind you inspections are for “deficiencies in the FOLLOWING MAJOR COMPONENTS of the Real Estate: central heating system, central cooling system, plumbing system, electrical system, roof, walls, ceilings, floors, foundation and basement.”
Minor things or the home being brought up to code does not fall under the major components of a home inspection. Also, the sellers’ only obligation is to address defects that are named in the purchase contact or required by state and local laws.
As a reminder, below is the wording from the purchase agreement.
Home Inspection as per Our Purchase Agreement:
The BUYERS must choose one of the following alternatives relative to the condition and quality of the property:
1) By AM PM, on , 20 , the BUYERS may, at their sole expense, have the property inspected by a person or persons of their choice, including but not limited to a qualified home inspector, contractor(s), engineer(s), or other such professional(s), to determine if there are major deficiencies in the FOLLOWING MAJOR COMPONENTS of the Real Estate: central heating system, central cooling system, plumbing system, electrical system, roof, walls, ceilings, floors, foundation and basement. SELLERS and BUYERS acknowledge that the property may have imperfect cosmetic conditions that do not affect the working condition of the item and are not considered major deficiencies, including, but not limited to, broken seals in windows; minor tears, worn spots, or discoloration of floor coverings, wallpaper, or window treatments; nail holes, scratches, dents, scrapes, or chips in ceilings, walls, floors; and/or surface cracks in driveways or patios. Failure to meet present construction standards and code requirements is not considered a deficiency in the property unless it is new construction, or unless that failure produces a condition which creates an unreasonable danger or risk to the property or to its occupants. By the same date, BUYERS must notify SELLERS in writing of any MAJOR deficiencies for which they are requesting remedies. The notification must be accompanied by a copy of a written inspection report from a qualified inspector identifying the deficiencies. SELLERS shall, within FIVE (5) calendar days after receipt of BUYERS’ notification, notify the BUYERS in writing either that (1) SELLERS agree to remedy the deficiencies as requested by BUYERS, in which case this Agreement as so modified shall be binding on all parties, or (2) SELLERS do not agree to the remedy request in whole or in part and offer a counter proposal to BUYERS. Upon receipt of said counter proposal from SELLERS, the BUYERS shall have FIVE (5) days in which to accept the SELLERS’ counter proposal by signing it, or to notify the SELLERS in writing that such steps are not acceptable, in which case, either SELLERS or BUYERS may declare this offer null and void, and any earnest money shall be returned to BUYERS. IN THE ABSENCE OF WRITTEN NOTICE OF ANY DEFICIENCY FROM BUYERS, OR IF BUYERS FAIL TO RESPOND TO THE SELLERS COUNTER PROPOSAL, WITHIN THE TIME SPECIFIED HEREIN, THIS PROVISION SHALL BE DEEMED WAIVED BY PARTIES AND THIS PURCHASE AGREEMENT SHALL REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. IF THE SELLERS FAIL TO RESPOND TO THE BUYERS REMEDY REQUEST WITHIN THE TIME SPECIFIED HEREIN, BUYERS MAY DECLARE THE OFFER NULL AND VOID AND ALL EARNEST MONEY SHALL BE RETURNED.
The BUYERS must choose one of the following alternatives relative to the presence of radon in the home:
1) By AM PM, on , 20 , the BUYERS may, at their sole expense, have the property inspected for the presence of radon gas. Such test shall be conducted by an Iowa Certified Radon Specialist. SELLER agrees to sign documents required for the test to be completed and agrees to cooperate with the specialist in carrying out the test. By the same date, BUYERS must notify SELLER in writing of any radon in excess of pCI/L. The notification shall be accompanied by a copy of the written radon report. The cost of mitigation, if necessary, shall be negotiated within the time frames and remedies in paragraph 9B(1).
WOOD DESTROYING INSECT INSPECTION. Select (A) or (B)
A) By AM PM, 20 , BUYERS may, at BUYERS’ expense have the property inspected for termites or other wood destroying insects by a licensed Pest Inspector. If active infestation or damage due to prior infestation is discovered, SELLERS shall have the option of either having the property treated for infestation by a licensed Pest Exterminator and having any damage repaired to the BUYERS’ satisfaction, or declaring this Purchase Agreement void. This provision shall not apply to fences, trees, shrubs, or outbuildings other than garages. BUYERS may accept the property in its existing condition without such treatment or repairs. IF BUYERS ARE OBTAINING VA FINANCING, THEN THE COST OF THE TERMITE INSPECTION SHALL BE BORNE BY THE SELLERS.
The following are the basic elements that a home inspector should check:
Structure: A home’s skeleton impacts how the property stands up to weather, gravity, and the earth. Structural components, including the foundation and the framing, should be inspected.
Exterior: The inspector should look at sidewalks, driveways, steps, windows, and doors. A home’s siding, trim, and surface drainage also are part of an exterior inspection.
Doors and window Siding (brick, stone, stucco, vinyl, wood, etc.) Driveways/sidewalks Attached porches, decks, and balconies
Roofing: A well-maintained roof protects you from rain, snow, and other forces of nature. Take note of the roof’s age, conditions of flashing, roof draining systems (pooling water), buckled shingles, loose gutters and downspouts, skylight, and chimneys.
Plumbing: Thoroughly examine the water supply and drainage systems, water heating equipment, and fuel storage systems. Drainage pumps and sump pumps also fall under this category. Poor water pressure, banging pipes, rust spots, or corrosion can indicate problems.
Electrical: Safe electrical wiring is essential. Look for the condition of service entrance wires, service panels, breakers and fuses, and disconnects. Also take note of the number of outlets in each room.
Heating: The home’s heating system, vent system, flues, and chimneys should be inspected. Look for age of water heater, whether the size is adequate for the house, speed of recovery, and energy rating.
Air Conditioning: Your inspector should describe your home cooling system, its energy source, and inspect the central and through-wall cooling equipment. Consider the age and energy rating of the system.
Interiors: An inspection of the inside of the home can reveal plumbing leaks, insect damage, rot, construction defects, and other issues. An inspector should take a close look at:
Walls, ceilings and floors Steps, stairways, and railings,Countertops and cabinets Garage doors and garage door systems
Ventilation/insulation: To prevent energy loss, check for adequate insulation and ventilation in the attic and in unfinished areas such as crawlspaces. Also look for proper, secured insulation in walls. Insulation should be appropriate for the climate. Excess moisture in the home can lead to mold and water damage.
Fireplaces: They’re charming, but they could be dangerous if not properly installed. Inspectors should examine the system, including the vent and flue, and describe solid fuel burning appliances.