Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What Inspections Do You Recommend for Home Buyers? Is there a Specific Order?

What Inspections Do You Recommend for Home Buyers?  Is there a Specific Order?

Let me begin with the simple answer...yes to both title questions.

This article pertains specifically to buying a home in Florida although many areas have similar processes and procedures.  Consult your real estate agent for more information.

In Florida most offers to purchase include contingencies.  As I am not an attorney I like to put contingencies in laymen terms - a condition that must be met before a purchase offer goes forward (there are solutions if problems arise).  There are good and reasonable contingencies that protect buyers like appraisal, inspection, financing, etc.  Then there are some oddball contingencies.

Without getting sidetracked into a discussion about offers, suffice it to say that times the offer is not necessarily the price only but rather the entire package including contingencies.  Sometimes the cleaner offer gets accepted and a higher price gets rejected.   

Back to the inspections questions....

In a real estate transaction time is of the essence.  There are hard dates that must be met.  Inspections are the first part.

Although buyers choose their inspectors I, like many other real estate agents, can provide a list of recommended inspectors whom I know my customers have used previously as well as other inspectors.

The property inspection is the number one inspection.  Her in our area of central Florida, although based on the size of the house, cost is usually in the $300 to $400 range.  This may vary somewhat if a buyer decides to include specialized inspections like "Four Point Inspection" or a "Wind Mitigation Survey" which insurance companies sometimes require.  Most inspectors I am familiar with will capture the information and, if needed, then charge the extra fee later.

A “Four Point Inspection” focuses on four main areas of interest in a home: air conditioning systems, the roof, plumbing and electrical  

Wind mitigation surveys are also known as hurricane inspections or windstorm surveys depending on where you are located.  These inspections can result in discounts and reductions in insurance premiums depending on the home's age and other factors.

Assuming the property inspection does not reveal any major issues then the termite inspection is ordered next.  Several of the property inspection companies In this are have arrangements with pest control companies to integrate these inspections into the home inspection. The cost, while it does vary, is probably in the $100-$150 range.

Depending on the home and the buyer, a pool inspection may be ordered.  Check with your property inspection company as to how they deal with pools. 

Next is the septic inspection.  While very few homes in my market area have septic systems this inspection is critic when the home has a septic system.  These inspections usually run anywhere from just over $200 to maybe $400 or so. 

In this inspection the septic tank must be pumped as part of the process.   This is good if the purchase goes forward but if there is a problem that stops the purchase why spend the money?  This is inspection will also evaluate the drain field.   Septic systems must be maintained. If they need repair or replacement it is not inexpensive.

Behind the replacement of a roof or air conditioner the septic system is potentially a major investment!

If multiple inspections are going to be anticipated I suggest buyers include enough days in the inspection contingency to allow all to be performed.  However, because buyers can basically opt out at any time based on the inspection results most sellers are not going to allow an inordinate amount of time for inspections. 

As mentioned above, time is of the essence.

Finally, most real estate agents will recommend inspections be performed.  If any inspection is rejected, most agents get the declined inspection decision on paper.  

Usually the order I recommend at least provides an opportunity for a buyer to save money if a "red flag" appears.

Ready to buy a home in Melbourne, Florida?  Call or text me at 321-693-3850 if I can assist in any way.