When you're buying a home in Florida you should seriously consider hiring a professional home inspection team. A home inspection, performed by a professional and licensed home inspector (www.ASHI.org), should reveal any hidden problems. Plus items, that need repair or replacement, can be addressed with the seller "before" you close thereby limiting surprises and headaches after you've moved into your new home.
A home inspection will look at all the most important systems that make up the property including:
- Structural elements
- Plumbing systems
- Electrical systems
- Pool & Lanai
You should "require" the inspection as part of your formal offer being sure the contract includes an inspection contingency clause with an appropriate amount of time for its completion. Then hire your own inspector and pay close attention to their report. If you aren't comfortable with the findings, or the seller refuses to address the issues through further negotiations, you can "cancel" the contract.
Hiring a Home Inspector
While your agent will give you some home inspection companies to look at, be sure you do some investigation on your own. Just like any other vendor you might employ, home inspection firms are all different and you need to be sure you're comfortable with your choice. Some questions to ask of them include: licensing status, qualifications, professional affiliations, costs, and most importantly, what type of report they will provide. There are many styles of reports used by property inspectors and all have pros and cons.
We recommend that you, or both you and your agent, accompany the inspector through the entire process, if possible. This will help you to understand the condition of the home and the details of the report. At the end of the inspection your inspector may provide a summary with a question and answer period. Use this opportunity to ask questions regarding terms or conditions you may not be familiar with. A good inspector is able to explain the answers to your questions. If for some reason a question cannot be answered, the inspector should research the question and obtain the answer for you. The inspector's knowledge and experience should help you then determine how best to proceed on items requiring repair or replacement.
The Inspection Report
The most important aspect of the reporting process is that the report should include a "narrative" on any problems discovered in the inspection and a "recommendation" for their repair. The more information provided, the easier it will be to understand the overall condition, and how best to proceed in getting any problems corrected. Read the report completely and understand the condition of the home you are about to purchase. After all, it is certainly to be one of the most important investments you will ever make.
The Final Results
Once the inspection report is completed, a copy should be given to all the parties for review. At that time, negotiations can begin on addressing the pertinent items. Depending on the issue, the seller may elect to repair smaller items right away, while larger ones may require more investigation or time to complete. Just remember, a home inspection is not meant to address "normal wear and tear." It is to uncover things which must be put in working order to provide for a safe and sound home. And, the bottom line is everything is negotiable in this process. Both the buyer and seller must be willing to come to a meeting of the minds in order to address any issues and close on their contract.
For more information on this real estate topic, please feel free to contact us directly. Our associates will be more than happy to assist you in answering any and all questions you may have.
Florida Home Buyers Library
Buying Florida Real Estate - Related Blog Posts:
Real Estate Terms Glossary Index
Page Authored by Benjamin Dona of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors
Questions About Home Inspections?