Home Inspections Before Closing On A Home

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By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home.
For the seller having a pre-inspection done (before offering the house for sale) can give the seller a competitive edge in a buyer’s market. A pre-inspection is a goodwill gesture. It demonstrates a willingness to go beyond what’s expected, and that sets you apart from other sellers. It can also highlight the upgrades you might have made in your home.
With a pre-inspection, the seller has time to get repairs done and shop around and control costs. It also avoids unpleasant surprises later. Once the buyer has his inspection between contract and closing, there is not much time left for the repairs and it will cost the seller more money or jeopardize the sale. If you are trying to sell a ”fixer-upper,” there is no need for the seller to have a pre-inspection.
The flip side of a pre-inspection is that the seller has a duty to disclose known defects to prospective buyers. If the inspector finds a problem and the seller does not fix it, the seller is now under a legal obligation to let the buyer know about the problems.
There are other disclosures required by the seller: If the property was built prior of 1978, any information about lead based paint needs to be disclosed, permits and any knowledge of radon gas or mold also needs to be disclosed by the seller.  And if there is any indication of a problem, the buyer should hire a specialty inspector for these issues.
If the buyer thinks they found their dream house which may look move in ready:  An inspector will cover features of the house such as electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, insulation, as well as structural features of the home and may reveal issues that are not noticeable to the buyer’s eye. That’s why it is important to have the inspector have a visual assessment of the home and assist you in understanding exactly what you are about to acquire.  The inspectors are licensed and deliver a written report where any defects and deficiencies are noted usually with a repair estimate – but they also give the buyer advice for maintenance and future improvements.
I recommend attending your home inspection, which is a valuable educational opportunity. The cost of a home inspection may vary depending upon the size, region, and age of the house.  A home inspection could take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours, depending upon the size and age of the home.
Here are some tips:
Provide enough time for the home inspection.
Make sure the buyer or seller attends the inspection (my advice for the seller is not to attend the buyers inspection.)
Ensure the home is safe: hand railings installed, lights functional, correct any “handyman” wiring and eliminate hazards and clean the A/C filter before the buyers’ inspector arrives.
Pets need to be in a safe location—away from the home or in a crate.
Access is needed to attic, yard, garage and sheds. Also, easy access to electrical panel, furnace and water main is ideal for the inspection to go smoothly.
Provide building permits and plans/bills for major renovations.
Another home inspection process the buyer may want to have before the purchase of a home would be a termite/wood destroying organism inspection. This inspection is required if you finance your home. The certified inspector would check for signs of structural damage caused by wood boring insects. These insects may cause problems down the road. Since a home is one of the most important purchases some buyers will ever make, a home inspection is an inexpensive way to discover the universal condition of a home. It is important to conduct a home inspection to avoid a costly mistake by purchasing a property in need of major repairs.
About Christel Silver
Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. In 1985 she was licensed in Maryland and Washington DC as a Realtor and later as a Certified Residential Appraiser and Associate Broker and has been in Florida since 2001. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) President appointed her (2010-2014) as the President’s Liaison to Germany, where she grew up and worked at the Justice Department for 17 years prior to coming to this country. The Germany Real Estate Organization (IVD) has an agreement with the NAR and she is an International member of this organization. Christel is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and a certified speaker teaching CIPS classes. Having been President for the Florida Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Chapter, she is now serving as a Regional Vice President helping Chapters to grow, currently for Virginia, Central Virginia and Maryland. Fifty percent of her business is in the International arena. For more information visit www.silverhouses.com.