Everyone I know is a bit skeptical when it comes down to signing documents for home contractors, inspectors, insurance agents , etc. One of the reasons is that everyone is a bit afraid to sign. Unless you know the contractor or home inspector, chances are you are dealing with a stranger you know nothing about. You don’t know if they are trustworthy or competent, or whether they belong to an association where they have to follow a code of ethics.
Asking some basic questions before you sign a contract can truly save you a lot of headaches later on. You are the paying customer, ask them questions to make sure everyone is satisfied before the work begins.
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A home inspection can be stressful for both parties. Almost every inspection comes back with at least some sort of repair and, most often, those problems are minor and easy enough to negotiate. However, there are some deal breakers that can cause buyers to run for the hills.
Erin Craft, home inspector with Destination Bay Home Inspections, says this is one of the biggest problems that can potentially kill a deal.
“We see this issue in attics, basements, or crawl spaces,” he said. “There is a lot of fear when it comes to mold, and we’ve had buyers stop us right in the middle of the inspection and say they are walking away. They see it as a huge risk, both to their health and their wallet.”
However, Craft says before ditching the deal, consider doing a bit more investigating, especially if it’s a home you really love.
I was buying a house and hired a home inspector. We went through the whole inspection, and I even paid him his fee. Then he gave me a form that indicated that he would not give me the written report unless I signed a document.
The document stated that I agreed that I could only get back the $400 I paid him in case there was a problem with the inspection or his report, or I could pay him an extra $1,500 and the cap would be eliminated. Don’t you think that he should have told me this before I hired him? He’s a member of ASHI.
We think it is highly questionable that a home inspector would spring those terms on you so late in the game. ASHI stands for the American Society of Home Inspectors, and they have a code of ethics. Among their code is a requirement for the home inspector to “act in good faith toward each client” and that ASHI inspectors should “avoid activities that harm the public, discredit themselves or reduce public confidence in the profession.”
Q: We accepted an offer on our home. The contract is subject to a satisfactory home inspection. Our agent called to set up a time for the inspection and asked us to vacate the house. My thinking is that if there is some discovery made during the investigation that both parties observing will aid in understanding the issue. Do you agree with her suggestion?
A: Most of the states that regulate inspectors are seeking inspections that reveal “significant” material defects that negatively affect the value of the property or create a concern for safety that is not apparent at the times the buyer viewed the home. The customer can overlook the fact this is a pre-owned home. They sometimes compare a pre-owned home inspection with the “certified” used car. Most every home has a wart somewhere, which is the buyer’s responsibility unless the seller agreed to remove the wart as part of the contract. Education of all participants, which requires investing time, is a key to ensuring a home inspection goes smoothly.