Why Are Home Inspections Important?

Home inspections inform the buyer and the seller about the condition of the home. Many San Fernando Valley sellers pay for a home inspection at the time they put their Sherman Oaks, Encino, Van Nuys or North Hollywood real estate on the market so that they can address any potential issues or problems that potential buyers may be concerned about.

It is a good opportunity for the seller to fix or repair any statutory items that they need to comply with such as strapping their water heater to earthquake code, retrofitting toilets and showers and installing smoke alarms per state codes. If there are other items that the seller or their Realtor think may affect the price of the home or the length of time it may take to sell the home, then the seller may want to make some of those repairs if they are justified and will help get the home sold for maximum dollar and in a short period of time. Or the alternative is to offer the buyer seller concessions.

Buyers should conduct a home inspection during their contract contingency period so they are aware of the condition of the home and can make an intelligent decision as to whether they want to purchase the San Fernando Valley home, condo or townhome. This will avoid any surprises after closing as well.

As Is Condition

Although most San Fernando Valley real estate in sold in an “as is” condition, meaning the seller is not required to make any warranties or repairs, except for statutory items, the buyer still should negotiate an inspection contingency in the purchase contract which gives them the opportunity to conduct an inspection. Bank foreclosures and short sales are always sold in an “as is” condition as well.

The purpose of the home inspection is to determine any problems with the home during the inspection contingency period and to give the buyer the opportunity to go forward with the sale, ask the seller for concessions or repairs or cancel the contract if the inspection reveals major repairs or structural damage to the home.

What is Covered in a Home Inspection?

Generally, the buyer pays for a licensed home inspector to conduct a physical inspection of the home’s interior and exterior. The inspection includes the inspection of the general systems of the home such as plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and the roof condition and condition of the appliances. A home inspection can run anywhere from around $250.00 – $500.00 and up depending on the size of the home and the type of home, condo, townhome, etc.

The home inspector does not conduct environmental inspections for mold, lead paint, asbestos, radon, etc. If it is determined that these conditions exist in the home, the inspector will recommend further inspections be done by the appropriate inspectors. Some home inspectors will provide these services at an additional cost. It is then up to the buyer to either hire the appropriate professionals to conduct these further inspections, ask the seller for concessions or a price reduction, or cancel the contract.

When You May Not Need a Home Inspection

If you are planning on tearing down the home and rehabbing it, then you probably don’t want to spend the money on a home inspection. You may want to obtain a geology report or soils report and a survey to determine the property boundaries. If you are purchasing a condo or townhouse, it is not necessary to obtain a survey or geology report. You will want to review the natural hazards report to determine if you are in a flood, fire or earthquake seismic hazards zone though.

In a seller’s market, it was common for buyers to waive inspection contingencies especially in a multiple offer situation. It is generally not recommended that the buyer waive the inspection though. However, it is a personal decision to be made by the buyer.

Home inspections are an inexpensive way to determine the condition of the home. For buyers, it is important that they conduct a home inspection to avoid a costly mistake by purchasing a property that needs major repairs, has structural damage or is affected by environmental hazards. Every buyer’s motivation for purchasing is different. Some buyers are willing to purchase properties that are considered major fixers for the right price. Others want move in condition properties and do not have a budget for making major repairs.

An inspection will reveal material problems about the house that the seller or their San Fernando Valley Realtor may not know about, and therefore did not disclose on the transfer disclosure statement. As a buyer, you don’t want to solely rely on the seller’s or the Realtors’ transfer disclosure statements. It is your responsibility to complete your own investigations about the property you are potentially purchasing so you know what you are getting yourself into.