Foundation Inspection Tips For Buyers and Sellers

Whether you’re buying or selling, the basis of your real-estate transaction depends heavily on the foundation of the home. Be prepared for the home inspection and buying/selling process with these tips:

Buyers

Read your Home Inspection report very carefully. Foundation settlement is a structural concern and can diminish the value of any home. If there is the slightest indication of a foundation issue, call a local, trusted foundation repair contractor for assistance. A reputable contractor will give you a fair and honest assessment of the property.

Examples of some of the warning statements in a home inspection report:

  • Some evidence of settling was observed.
  • Foundation movement may exceed FHA/VA standards.
  • Cracking of floor slab noted.
  • Cracks in brick/floor/wall/ceiling.
  • Fascia/trim separation.
  • Windows difficult to open.
  • Caulk separation at windows or doors.
  • Recommend contacting a foundation repair contractor.

Don’t be fooled by a Home Inspection report, which is typically written in more general terms and may occasionally gloss over foundation problems. Remember that the home inspector’s role is to report on the general conditions of a home not provide a structural report.

Sellers:

Here are some helpful things to remember:

  • A good foundation repair company can typically complete a repair within 1-2 days.
  • FHA/VA and conventional loan approvals are no problem when the foundation is properly repaired and backed up by a lifetime warranty (always check to see if your contractor offers a lifetime transferable warranty)
  • The best way to avoid last minute closing problems is to have the foundation inspected before you put the house on the market. A local foundation repair specialist will be happy to provide you with a no cost evaluation and assessment.
  • If you are owner financing the sale, you may sell the property without foundation repairs as long as you disclose what you know about the foundation. Homes that need foundation repairs generally sell at a discount far below the cost of repairs.

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers and Sellers

Many will think that home inspection is not essential while buying a house but it is not so. A home inspection is important for your family’s safety as all the components, systems, structure, appliances & installations are inspected thoroughly to ascertain they are working properly. By having a home inspection you will make sure that the house is safe your family to live in and you are paying the right price for the house.

Pre-requisites for Home Inspection

At the time a NACHI certified home inspector goes to the house for a home inspection you need to make sure that the seller provides him proper access from where he can inspect every area of the house. You need to ask the seller to remove storage containers away from wall to make it easy for the home inspector to check. In case he is not able to view any particular section of the house then he should indicate it in his report.

Broad Categorization of House Defects

Most of the problems that are looked at during a home inspection can be broadly categorized into following:

  1. Tracing major defects such as some type of structural failure.
  2. Things which can cause major problems in future such as minor roof flashing leakage.
  3. Problems in the house which can create hindrance in financing the house, insure or occupy it.
  4. Safety related problems like electric panel with buss bar which is exposed.

Home Inspection Tips for Sellers

A seller can expedite the home inspection process if he follows the under mentioned tips. If these suggestions are followed then it will result in smoother inspection and less number of concerns to solve before the closing.

  1. Check that electric, gas & water services are running. Additionally, make sure that gas pilot lights are properly burning.
  2. Avoid getting light inoperable report by changing burned out electrical items such as bulbs.
  3. Get rid of dead batteries so that they do not create problems during smoke tests and carbon monoxide detection.
  4. Check that air filters (HVAC) fit in properly.
  5. Clean out wood, stored items & debris kept near the foundation as home inspector may term it as ideal location for growth of termites.
  6. Clear the path leading to water heaters, HVAC equipment, electrical panels, crawl spaces, closets & attics so that these can be inspected properly.
  7. Check and repair broken things such as latches, door knobs, screens, window panes, chimney caps & downspouts.

As mentioned above the major defects categorization & tips for sellers on how they can make the house ready before the inspector comes to the house will greatly assist buyers and sellers in evaluating problems in the house and take remedial steps to solve these problems.

After the Home Inspection – The Negotiation

Every property for sale should undergo inspection. As a buyer, part of your responsibility is to have this done. This is very helpful to make sure you are paying a property for what it is actually worth. However, home inspection also triggers a different kind of activity. It initiates negotiation.

Negotiation is staple process in home buying. As mentioned above, it can be triggered by home inspection. The number one point for negotiation is the price. Homebuyers would normally want to lower it. However, there should always be a reasonable basis for its negotiation. And the result of home inspection shall give you the answers.

One thing you should bear in mind though, negotiating after home inspection have its legal aspects. For you to do this, you must have a contingency clause on your purchase offer. In every purchase agreement, buyers are protected from the “as is” conditions of the seller (this means property will be purchased as it is), through the contingency clause.

One thing a buyer should bear in mind is that not all of the defects uncovered in home inspection will be fixed by the seller. Although as a buyer, you have the right to demand for this, but you also have to consider the seller’s ability to pay for the repairs. If you want the property so much, you and your real estate agent should be able to create a win-win situation for everybody. Besides, you have to remember that the house was previously occupied. Therefore, it will surely have normal wear and tear defects. Not unless if the property is newly constructed, you may have the right to expect everything is brand new. If the seller is a busy person, you can have those defects fixed, provided they will shoulder the expenses.

Some sellers may have already pointed out the minor defects on their disclosures. This way, there will be no surprises. When it has become known to your knowledge, this simply conveys a message that you would have to shoulder the expenses in the event defects are uncovered. So be prepared to accept or walk away. Sellers at this point may consider negotiating anything.

However, if the seller won’t perform any of your request, you can always be more specific in your negotiations. One thing you can do is request for the purchase price to be lowered. For example, a $200,000 worth property will be lowered to $194,000.

If the seller does not accept, be prepared to walk away. Remember, you are purchasing a home. You want to make sure you are investing on a good property. If you think you cannot live with the condition of the house, it is best not to pursue it.

Should you cancel the purchase due to defects, always bear in mind to cancel within the expected time frame. Withdrawing offers within the specified period will allow you to walk away without losing your Earnest Money or worse being sued.

Negotiation is not a game. This is also not a right of the buyer to get what he or she wants. This is a process of creating a compromise for both parties. Therefore, it should be done within the right reasons.