The inspection condition allows the buyer a certain period of time after the purchase contract is accepted to enlist the services of a professional property inspector. The inspector will go over the property from top to bottom, evaluating the condition of the structure, plumbing, wiring, roof, and appliances to give the buyer a realistic idea of condition of the property and identify material defects that may affect the market value, the safety of the property, and maintenance issues. Other inspections such as the presence of asbestos, lead paint, radon, mould and other toxic chemicals may be included in the inspection contingency.
For rural properties, inspections and tests may also be performed to verify if water from private wells is safe to drink, the flow rate of a well, or the condition of a septic system. In some areas, water rights to the property may have to be verified to avoid any violations should the new owner decide to drill a new well. A septic system may be legal but nonconforming which means that when the septic system was installed it was up to code but the code has changed and the septic system does not meet the current code. In this case a contingency clause in the offer may ask for approval from a local sewage inspector to build a new septic system.
It is normal for all properties to require completions, repair or maintenance. If extra ordinary deficiencies or defects are discovered during the inspection, the buyer can ask the seller to make repairs or the buyer can back out of the deal. The inspection condition may specify which party will pay for the repairs and to what extent. Usually the inspection condition will state that if the repairs will exceed a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the contracted sale price of the property the buyer can back out of the deal. A professional home inspection report specifies the date of the inspection and the status of the property concerned.
The inspector's report is the only documented proof of the actual condition of the property that is being sold. A seller may have this inspection done before he receives an offer. It is a valuable tool that helps you negotiate the sales contract and gives you information about maintenance required. The cost of an inspection is well worth the peace of mind it provides.
How do you find the right inspector? Look for a licensed professional inspector, not simply a renovation contractor or a friend who can tell copper from galvanized pipes. You can obtain a list from your real estate agent. Ask for recommendations from friends who have recently purchased properties. Most inspectors have some background in building trades or engineering, and have had additional training related specifically to property inspections. Call several companies, and ask about their background, training and if they are licensed, as well as their rates and if they are bonded.