Part 3 – Inspections
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions in a person’s life. As we discussed last week, in Part 2 of our Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Home in Florida, Obtaining a Mortgage and Home Appraisal, even for the most experienced sellers/buyers, closing on a home in Florida can become an intimidating challenge. This series is written to assist you in understanding the basics of real estate transactions in Florida.
Under Florida law, a seller is required to disclose to a buyer all matters known by the seller that materially affect the value of the subject property. This disclosure should be made prior to the execution of a binding contract. However, even though disclosure is a legal requirement, a seller may fail to disclose or may not be aware of a property defect at the time of signing the contract. Because of this, a thorough home inspection should be a priority for every buyer purchasing Florida property.
A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the physical condition of a home, often in the connection with the sale of the home. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) more than 90% of home sales in the United States involves a home inspection. Before you close on the purchase of a home, you are strongly advised to have an independent home inspection performed on the home by a licensed inspector.
The reason for an inspection is quite simple. If an inspection is not performed on the property before the closing of the sale, you will take the property in its condition as of the closing, and any defect in the property becomes your defect to deal with at your expense. However, if an inspection is performed before the sale has been finalized, then you can require the seller to correct the defect, failing which you can cancel the contract and receive the return of your deposit. Thus, because a home inspection may reveal defects that materially affect the value of the property, an inspection and report should be made a contingency in the contract to purchase the property. The home inspection report is a written report that the inspector prepares and delivers to the buyer detailing the inspection. If the inspection is a contract contingency, and the report reveals a defect, then the buyer can require the seller to repair the defect or the buyer can cancel the contract.
A home inspection report will include moderate and serious issues found by the inspector. Generally, the home inspection report will report on the condition of the homes, such as plumbing, electrical systems, heating and air conditioning systems, foundation, roof, walls, ceilings, drainage, etc. There are some issues that are not covered by a general home inspection, such as the presence of termites, mold, asbestos, or lead. If concerns of this nature arise, then an inspection by a professional in that specific field should also be conducted on the home. It is very important to note that a home inspection describes the condition of the home at the time of the inspection, but in no way guarantees any future condition of the home or property.
No matter if you’re buying or selling a home in Florida, you should have a skilled representative working with you throughout the process. While an agent or realtor can answer certain questions you may have, only an attorney will act in your best interests and is often less expensive than people think. In fact, in most instances having a real estate lawyer close your transaction will cost no more than a title company will charge to conduct the closing. That is why we invite you to contact the Sherrard Law Group today to speak to a member of our legal team about your real estate transaction. We look forward to serving as your trusted legal representatives.
Next week – Part 4…Title Insurance