First of All, What is a Home Inspection?
The process of buying or selling a home includes many different activities besides just the sale’s eventual closing event. For example, when a homebuyer and a seller agree on a sale, the purchase agreement may contain contingencies, such as the home passing an inspection. Generally, home inspection contingencies in real estate purchase agreements call for such inspections to be conducted only by certified professionals.
Home Inspection Contingencies
The success of many a home sale has hinged on the home successfully passing an inspection. A majority of standard real estate purchase agreements come with home inspection contingency language already written in them. A home inspection normally is paid for by the buyer and the inspector works on behalf of that buyer. Home inspections typically are conducted by certified home inspectors, but any competent professional, such as a contractor, agreed to by the buyer and seller, is acceptable.
Home Inspectors vs. Contractors
A certified home inspector conducts a visual inspection of a home’s structure as well as its critical components, such as plumbing, electrical and heating and air conditioning systems. Reputable home contractors are licensed to perform work and repairs on a home’s structure and possibly certain of its critical components. However, experienced home inspectors have more of a background in determining potential flaws in the house and have less of a conflict of interest. A contractor who anticipates getting the work to make any repairs or renovations, for example, may be more likely to mention issues that are advantageous to his business.
Negotiating a Home Inspection
Everything in a real estate transaction is negotiable, including the type of professional used to conduct a home inspection. It is also up to a home’s seller whether to accept a purchase agreement from a buyer that contains a home inspection or other contingency. If you are a home seller and the buyer wants a home inspection, you could negotiate that it be conducted by a certified home inspector only.
Home Inspection Results
Home sellers and buyers should ensure that home inspection contingencies are clear and unambiguous. Contingencies in real estate purchase agreements normally call for such inspections to be conducted within time limits or risk sale cancellation. Home sellers and their buyers are free to negotiate over home inspection results as well as who will pay for any repairs. In some cases, home sellers and their buyers agree to divide the cost of any needed home repairs.