Buyers who want to purchase a Pittsburgh home often ask if inspections are required. There is no requirement for a buyer to conduct inspections. However, we recommend buyers highly consider having inspections.
Until recently, it has been customary for a buyer to present an offer contingent on several inspections. However, we are experiencing a strong seller’s real estate market, and sellers often receive multiple offers on the same day. In this environment, buyers are rethinking the home inspection requirement.
In our area, the customary inspections include a general home inspection, pest inspection, radon inspection, and a camera sewer line inspection. It is not a pass-or-fail situation. The information provided in the inspections is to determine if the home’s condition is satisfactory to the buyer.
After the inspections, the buyer may accept the property, request the seller make repairs or terminate the contract.
Additionally, some municipalities require a municipal inspection. The seller’s responsibility is to arrange for the municipal inspection and comply with any violations cited by the inspector. This inspection is a separate issue from the buyer’s elected inspections.
Clearly, if a seller receives two offers and one requires a home inspection, most sellers will choose the non-inspection offer with all other things being equal. So, a home inspection requirement can put you at a competitive disadvantage.
Still, are you willing to risk purchasing a home with some fundamental, expensive problems? What if you buy the house and subsequently learn of a plumbing or electrical issue? What if the repair costs $10,0000?
One option may be to include a provision in your purchase offer that provides for a home inspection done for informational purposes only.
That way, settlement under your offer is not conditioned upon the inspection. It would not provide you with the option of amending the contract to have the seller make repairs. Should serious problems be discovered, the seller is bound to know the deal is in jeopardy. Once the seller is aware of an inspection issue, they must disclose it to potential buyers.
Another option to elect a home inspection contingency is to limit the seller’s responsibility with a dollar amount.
You simply select the inspections you would like to have conducted, stating that you, the buyer, will be responsible for the first $xxxx of repairs deemed necessary from the inspections. This strategy limits the potential for minor repair requests but leaves the door open for negotiation on any repairs higher than the dollar amount you agree to accept.
A seller can also elect to have a pre-inspection before listing their property for sale. The seller then knows if any significant items should be addressed. Of course, the buyer still has the right to have an inspection if they choose.
There is no one correct answer when deciding on home inspections. Instead, each buyer has to ask himself how much risk he is willing to take.
Your real estate agent can help you weigh the pros and cons of the decision to inspect or not inspect. There are many factors to consider. Be prepared that submitting an offer on a home can be emotional, especially if you know there are multiple offers.