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In the NOW: Beware of Home Inspections!

Posted by Chrles Pence on January 23, 2013
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Beware of the man who knows the answer before he understands the question.

The era of random inspection of EMF, electromagnetic fields, people walking through open houses with their handy-dandy EMF meters are long gone!  As values are increasing so are buyers’ expectations.   Buyers feel they now need to do a lot more research and inspect everything under the sun when purchasing a new home. The extra inspections “du jour” right now are: chimneys/fireplaces (new and old), sewer lines to the street, drainage around the foundations and of course mold.

Some inspections, for instance chimney inspections, especially prefab chimneys, are extremely arbitrary.  Approximately 80% of new or existing home sales have some notation in the inspections related to the condition of the chimney which is especially common in new construction. It is becoming more and more common for sellers to protect themselves by having some of these home inspections before they put their home on the market. This allows them to fix items that may become apparent during the buyers’ inspections.

Fixing things in advance has two advantages for the seller.  Firstly, they can control the cost of the repair. Secondly, the item won’t appear on the buyers’ inspection report, giving the home a much better feel to the buyers.

Termite inspectors can also be notoriously arbitrary. It is common for termite reports to vary because many companies do not vacuum findings of dead termite wings. As a result, subsequent termite inspections will generally again call for fumigation because the later inspector will find the same evidence of termite activity, aka  the wings.  Another potential pitfall for the Seller in the Purchase Contract is the Seller assuming responsibility for Section 1: active infestation, termites or dry rot. Most Sellers agree to these terms without knowing what the damage is or what it will cost.  I have seen reports with work estimates from $500-$83,000, the average is $2500-$5000.  The one for $83,000 represented 15% of the total sales price of the property, HELLO!!!!!   “Caveat Emptor” might be appropriate here.

Please call me at (310) 403.9238 or email me at  if you want to discuss the many other pitfalls to watch out for when selling or buying real estate.

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