|We’ve been chatting the past few months about real estate and this month we focus on the initial home inspection and the final walk-through, which is really the last chance a purchaser has before they are handed the keys.|
In the contract of sale, the seller usually gives basic representations that the plumbing, electrical, heating and septic/sewer systems are in good working order and that the roof is free of leaks. The seller also generally represents that if the appliances are working at the time of contract, and are listed in the listing agreement, those same appliances will be in good condition at closing. The only caveat is normal wear and tear from the date of contract to closing. The contract usually allows the purchaser to conduct for a termite inspection, and if active termites or termite damage is found, the seller has the option of either cancelling the contract or treating and repairing the condition.
How does the purchaser know all of this information is factual?
Most home buyers are not contractors or only have basic experience with the maintenance of a home. This is why a home inspection is highly recommended prior to going to contract. The inspection not only gives the purchaser an idea of what renovations they might need to do in the house in the future, it also identifies any possible structural, plumbing, mechanical or electrical issues that really should be addressed by the seller. For instance, most building Codes require GFCI outlets in areas close to water. As a seller, if you haven’t done this minor upgrade before listing, you will most likely be asked to do it after the inspection.
If major repairs are identified by the engineer – issues which affect the structural integrity of the house – I recommend that the purchaser speak with his or her real estate agent to negotiate with the seller to either repair the issue or request a repair credit. If the seller is going to make the repair, we will include it in the contract with a Repair Rider.
NOTE – Do not use the home inspection report as a chance to renegotiate the price unless there are serious structural issues. You are buying the house in its “AS IS” condition, with the representations listed above. The home inspection is so you know what you are buying!
How does the purchaser know the repairs were actually done?
The final walk-through.
This is a chance to reinspect the home right before closing. Once the closing has been scheduled, make an appointment with your real estate agent the day of, or the evening before the closing, to inspect the house one more time. It is so important. This is the time to run the appliances, turn on all the faucets, flush the toilets, look for leaks, turn the lights on and off, spend at least an hour at the home, checking for any and all issues. Once the purchaser takes the keys, the house is now the responsibility of the purchaser – the seller no longer has any obligations. I cannot emphasize this enough. Test everything. Make sure anything that was supposed to be repaired was actually repaired. I’ve had people come back to me weeks after the closing with problems and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done.
With the right team in place, your real estate transaction can, and should be, an enjoyable one. If you are thinking of selling or buying in the near future, let’s chat.
In personal news and with Thanksgiving just a few days away, I want to say how thankful I am. I’m thankful for my son, my husband, my rescue kitties, my team, my clients and the fact that I’ve been able to provide quality legal expertise for buyers and sellers and assistance with estate planning during these very odd times. I feel for all of you impacted by the pandemic and I hope the new year brings great things your way.
Speaking of my rescue kitties… It looks like I have finally earned the trust of my Lil Grey kitty (yes, that’s her name – she wasn’t supposed to be a permanent resident of the Sugarman household, but she stayed and the name stuck). She and my three other rescues have been with me for almost three years and Lil Grey has finally accepted me and learned to trust me enough so that she just started sleeping on my bed. It is such a milestone considering I can’t keep the other three off of me.
If you are in need of anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ve said it before, Sugarman Law is here for you. And if we have worked together and you want to leave a review for us on Google, we would truly appreciate it.
Continue to be safe!