Let’s start out with one important observation: every home, even a new one, has defects. As a buyer, you have a right to know about the condition of the home you are buying. You want to make sure that it does not have any MAJOR defects and you might like some of the minor ones corrected prior to your taking possession.
You also want to know what the seller knows about the property. For example, if they know that there have been water leakage problems in the past. If you are buying in the dry season, you might not notice any evidence of this. To cure this potential issue, under the laws of most states, sellers and their agents are obligated by law to inform you of issues they know about, emphasis on the KNOW. In part, an inspection report is designed to tell you everything about the property, perhaps some things that the seller “forgot” to tell you. Refer to this article for a more thorough discussion of the issue.
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This sounds great but in the real world, a seller might not tell you about things that might cost him money to repair if he thinks you might not find out about them. Also there may be items he doesn’t know about so to protect yourself, you should retain a home inspector to examine the property and give you a report. In a normal transaction, your agent might require it even if you didn’t think it was a problem because they don’t want to be a party to a legal proceeding should a problem surface a few years into the future.
Your goal is to get a report that details the property and lists items that ought to be corrected by the seller prior to close of escrow. You should to do an Internet search about this topic to learn even more than what I can cover in this short article. You want to be able to differentiate between important and unimportant items.
Image: Eugene Peretz, via Flickr.com