Capital Region Legal News

Friday, November 20, 2015

Homebuyer Beware: A Primer on Home Inspections

Is a home inspection necessary when buying a home?


Homebuyers often focus on location and aesthetics, but the structural condition as well as that of the heating, cooling, and electrical systems are equally important. And there are five key home inspection issues in a residential real estate transaction.

1. The first is the timing of the inspection – that is, should it be performed before a contract is signed. But a homebuyer usually has less leverage to modify the deal if defects are found subsequent to a contract being signed.

2. When choosing a home inspector he or she must be licensed to perform such an inspection for compensation except for registered architects and licensed professional engineers (though the license must be for a business entity.

3. Home inspection are generally standardized where a home inspector observes and provides a written report of the systems and structural components of a residential building.

4. Home inspections do not include inspections for radon and pests (and a separate termite inspection is always a good idea).

5. The buyer does not have to be present, but the seller should be available to answer questions as well as to prepare the house for the inspection.

Moreover, after an inspection has been performed, a real estate agent has a duty to the buyer to disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of property. If the deal falls apart because of a negative report on a home inspection the same real estate broker is rehired to relist the property. The onus will be on the broker to discuss the negative features of the property with all future prospective buyers. If a broker fails to do so, he or she could face a legal action.

In the end, a home inspection could make or break a deal and a homebuyer should not enter into a contract of sale without the assistance and advice of an attorney. We serve clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy and entire Northeastern, NY areas. Contact us today at (518) 350.7755.

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