Home Inspection issues | Who takes care of what?

Posted by BJ Matson on Thursday, December 1st, 2016 at 12:02pm.

Home Inspection
What does Seller pay for?  What does Buyer pay for?

1) The inspector comes out for inspection during winter.  The a/c compressor can't be run when it's below a certain temperature.  Home Inspector won't turn it on and therefore can't verify that it's working.

2) Inspector goes up on ladder to check roof.  Wait, there's frost on the roof.  Inspector refuses to walk up there.  Roof doesn't get proper inspection.

3) House has a sump pump in the basement. 
There's a pvc tube lying across the top of the enclosure cap.  Inspector says he can't open the cap to check if pump is working correctly.

These are all scenarios I have recently run into with my clients.  The first, I represented the Buyers.  The other two, I represented the Sellers.

In my many years of working with Sellers and Buyers, there still isn't a clear definitive answer to give you with certain issues.  New ones come up specific to every sale. It comes down to knowing what's expected of Seller and Buyer, and beyond that making a reasonable compromise to get it done.  The seller wants the buyer to get a great home, and the buyer just wants a solid home in working order.

Remember, real estate is negotiable.  At least, before you agree to terms in writing.
#1 above, there's not much anyone can do while the weather is too cold.  An agreement will need to be put in place that addresses the a/c compressor and potential problems. Is it a new unit with a warranty? is it an older unit? The specifics will help determine which path I'll suggest to my client. It's possible we'll hold $ in escrow to be released upon satisfactory inspection of the unit, and enough held, so unit will be fixed if not working.
With both #1 and #2 above, we'll need to watch the weather closely to see if we get a break in temperature to get Inspector back out to the home before closing.
#3, we'll weigh the age of the pump and any warranties... most likely we're going to have seller get us access. Even if this means hiring someone to remove section of pvc that's in the way. and then fix back the way it was.

As a buyer a good rule of thumb is to make sure safety and structural issues are addressed.  It is reasonable that you want to purchase a good home, in working order. All appliances and utilities working correctly.  Whether it's you or any other buyer, this seller will be expected to deliver a solid home.  Unless of course you got a discount worked into your price accepting a certain condition of the home.
Aesthetics or potential problems are just that.  It's a good idea to get a Home Warranty especially if some of the utilities are older.  You'll have spent a good deal just to get into the home.  Last thing you need is an unexpected significant expense. 

As a seller, you will need to make sure the Inspector can access your home. The inspector is not going to move all the filled moving boxes you have stacked around the utilities.  Make sure Inspector can access the attic, all appliances, electric panels, heating/cooling units, and that all the utilities are on.  If property is vacant and you've turned them off, the inspector is not going to light any pilot lights on your stove or your gas fireplaces.  Remove any dishes and clothes from dishwasher and washing machine, these will be run as well.  Make sure the water & electricity are on. 
Keep pets locked up, and ideally, you should NOT be there with inspector and buyer.  I've seen it work great when the seller was there, they were able to answer a lot of questions.  I've also seen it not go well, and the seller was defensive and had something to say about anything negative found by the Inspector.  Best advice is to not be there. 

Questions will surely be asked later that day, from our notes.  We will have a 2nd set of questions once we get the Inspection Report delivered. This typically comes back within 48 hours max, of inspection completed.

By BJ Matson
Olney, Maryland
301-881-8900  call / text
bj@bjmatson.com

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