With the spring and summer home buying season heating up, it is important for home buyers to remember to get a home inspection before they make one of the biggest investments of their lives.
And I’m not talking about getting your brother-in-law the handyman to look at it; I mean a home inspection from a professional home inspector that is a member of either the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors.
Getting the home inspected protects the buyer in the event there is something structurally wrong with the home or it has other serious defects, such as mold in the attic.
The standard purchase agreement that a real estate agent will use for the purchaser generally has a clause that specifies the buyer will get a home inspection and will have the ability to cancel the purchase if the inspection turns up anything that makes the buyer uncomfortable about buying the home. However, I have also seen purchase agreements that are more favorable to the seller, so it is vital to have one drafted that protects you when you are buying a home.
To protect the buyer, this is the type of clause that I put into any purchase agreement when I represent the buyer:
Purchaser does hereby acknowledge receipt of statutory “Seller’s Disclosure Statement” pursuant to P.A. 92 of Michigan Public Acts of 1993 to disclose the condition and information concerning the property known by Seller. Purchaser shall have the option for 10 days from the date of acceptance of this agreement to have the property inspected, at Purchaser’s expense, including, but not limited to, defects in the major component parts of mechanical systems, including plumbing, electrical, heating, well and septic systems and structural repairs or replacements. Within this 10 days, the Purchaser shall notify the Seller in writing with a copy of the inspection report specifying any defective conditions. If no notice of a defective condition is received or no inspection is held within the time allotted, the right to an inspection shall be deemed waived and the Purchaser shall accept the property “as is”. In the event of a timely and valid notice of defect, the Purchaser has the option to allow Seller to either fix the defect or terminate this agreement with full refund of the earnest money deposit. If the Seller is to fix the defect, the notice of such election shall specify the manner of repair and the Seller shall agree to have the repair completed within fourteen days from the date of notice.
This type of provision provides the buyer with ample opportunity to walk away from the deal if any defects are found during the inspection. But remember, getting a professional home inspector is the key to knowing what may be wrong with a home. Generally, a home inspection will cost between $300 and $500 depending on the size of the home. I look at that as a good investment and as an insurance policy against buying a “faulty” home. Better to spend the money up front than to end up in a home like the one in the movie “Money Pit” with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long.