If you are looking to buy a new home, it is very likely one of the biggest financial transactions you will ever make. However, given that current market conditions are very favorable to sellers, not all buyers are choosing to exercise their right to perform a home inspection before they decide to buy, either because of cost concerns or as a tactic to make a bid look more attractive than offers by other potential buyers. If you are not careful, however, a failure to perform a home inspection could result in serious legal and financial problems later on.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is essentially what it sounds like: a professional inspector goes to a house and examines it for any damage or structural defects that may cause issues for anyone living in the property. Getting a home inspection can be costly, but is a common part of most home sales. This is done to ensure that any potential problems with a property are identified before the sale goes through, which can then potentially be addressed.
What Kinds of Problems Could a Home Inspection Find?
Any number of potential problems could be found with a property when it is inspected. Some of these problems may include, but are not limited to:
- Unrepaired damage from a fire, flood, or other disaster
- Mold or mildew due to drainage issues
- Presence of rats, mice, roaches, termites, or other pests
- Building code violations due to old or illegal construction work
- Damaged/missing roofing or siding
- Damage to the foundation
- Faulty or exposed wiring
- Missing or inadequate insulation
- Problems with the HVAC system
What Happens if You Discover One of These Issues?
If a home inspection reveals one of these issues prior to the purchase of a home, you have the opportunity to request that the seller correct it. The terms of your real estate contract may need to be modified to account for the parties negotiating responsibility for the costs of addressing these issues, where necessary. However, if the issues are not discovered until after you have already bought the property, you may be left paying for it all yourself. Courts generally do not look favorably on complaints made by buyers after the purchase about alleged defects or problems that should or would have been revealed by a home inspection.
What Should You Do?
If you are buying real estate, you should make sure to speak to a lawyer with experience handling real estate law. They can assist you with your transaction and ensure all aspects are taken care of, such as arranging for inspections to be carried out as necessary. However, to know what you may need, and to evaluate the costs and benefits of a home inspection, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible before committing to a real estate purchase.
A real estate lawyer can assist with various aspects of the home buying process, including preparing and reviewing contracts, performing a title search, and closing the deal. The attorneys at Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney are skilled and experienced in the aspects of real estate law to ensure a smooth process as you purchase your new home. Contact the Law Offices of Hunziker, Sweeney & Jones at (973) 256-0456 or visit our contact page to learn more.