When you go under contract to buy a residence, you usually have about ten days to two weeks to get an inspection done. Whether you choose to hire an inspector or do it yourself, your choices are then to either write an objection for the seller to consider or to terminate the contract with no penalty.
Buyers nearly always pay for the inspection and are always responsible for any damage to the property done during the inspection. And you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff inspectors have done to damage property.
That’s why it’s wise to ask your Realtor who is currently on the good list for home inspections. It changes.
Inspection objections should be limited to items of safety, habitability and working condition; items that you wouldn’t be expected to have seen while you were deciding to buy the property. The inspection is not meant to require the seller bring the property up to today’s building codes. Cosmetic items are generally not fair game for inspection objections.
And the inspection is not the buyer’s opportunity to renegotiate the contract price. It is rare that this is attempted.
Certain items are always called out by inspectors. GFI electrical outlets at sinks and decks, carbon monoxide detectors (even when already installed), chimney cleaning for both gas and wood fireplaces and lately, a full annual heat system service and inspection are currently on every inspector’s report.
Sellers can pre-empt some or all of these by just doing them when the property goes on the market. Even if the inspector includes them to cover himself, as often happens, you have already done the work and have receipts to show it.
Fogged thermo-pane windows are a problem. The window still works and the place is habitable, but it looks bad. Is it cosmetic or functional?
Depending on the number and cost of the items on the objection list, sellers may or may not address fogged window panes.
Sellers often ask if it makes sense to get an inspection before the property goes on the market. Generally not. Buyers still want their own guy to look the place over and may refer to your inspection report, but it won’t stop them from getting it done again.
Sellers who think there may be a lot wrong with the property might want to get the inspection done just to find out what they’ll be hit with by the buyer’s inspection. But the buyer will still get another one.
So even if you didn’t get an inspection when you bought the property, don’t expect a new buyer to waive the inspection. It’s just part of the normal closing process these days.
And buyers… Please remember, it’s a used house. The price probably reflects the condition.