Should I Get An Inspection Done Before Or After I Sign A Contract Of Sale?
It is best for you to obtain a home inspection before signing a Contract of Sale. The only time it is advisable to sign a Contract without a home inspection is if there is a contingency in the contract that allows the Purchaser to cancel based on the inspection results. The custom in the greater New York City area, including Westchester County, is for the Buyer to complete inspections prior to the Contract of Sale being drafted and negotiated so any required repairs or credits can be included in the Contract of Sale. Therefore, if you have found a property you wish to buy, do not delay in getting your inspections. The standard home inspection is a visual inspection on various parts of the property including the roof, plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, appliances, insulation, and the like. But it is important to note that each home inspector has a different approach as to what inspections will be conducted and included in the inspection report. Here are some other common inspection options:
- Radon Testing
- Mold Inspection
- Wood Destroying Insect Inspection
- Foundation Inspection
- Well Water Testing
- Septic Tank Inspection
- Soil Testing or Checking for the presence of an Underground Storage Tank
- Chimney Inspections
- Lead-Based Paint Inspection
- Asbestos Inspection
You should talk to a few home inspectors to determine what inspections are recommended, which tests/inspections are included, and the cost for the various inspections offered.
A home inspection is a key step when you want to purchase real estate. Often, the purchase of real estate will be one of the largest purchases that you will make in your lifetime. It is a critically important transaction, and comprehensive inspections are highly recommended. You will have details on the condition of the property up front. If the inspection uncovers issues that require remediation, any Seller-agreed repairs or price adjustments can be written into the contract so there are no misunderstandings or disagreements at the closing.
New York State embraces a Caveat Emptor or “Buyer Beware” legal theory, which means that it is the Purchaser’s obligation to identify any issues and once you are in contract, the contract can only be cancelled if there is a contingency that explicitly permits you to cancel the Contract of Sale. In New York, the standard contingencies are as follows:
- Seller must provide marketable title. If Seller cannot, Purchaser has a legal right to cancel the Contract of Sale and receive a prompt return of the down payment.
- Seller must have a building department certificate for all structures and improvements or proof that none is required.
- Purchaser must be able to secure financing by obtaining a mortgage commitment (also known as a conditional approval) by a certain date. If Purchaser is not approved for the mortgage, they have a right to cancel so long as they pursue the mortgage in good faith and alert the Seller by the deadline.
Buyers should keep in mind that entering a contract before a thorough inspection can be a recipe for disappointment. Imagine you fall in love with a property and rush to make an offer and waive inspections. Your offer is accepted, and you are officially in contract. You book the inspection for the following week, brushing aside concerns and figuring that nothing could possibly stop you from pursuing this home. When the results come in, you are shocked to discover that the foundation is cracking, the roof needs replacement, and the entire electrical system must be upgraded to comply with code. The quotes are astronomical, and the Seller refuses to perform any repairs or budge on the purchase price. You are left with the choice of accepting the property as is or walking away and possibly losing your down payment.
Finally, it should be noted that even though the standard residential Contract of Sale does state that the Buyer will take the property “as is”, this term is not without limitation. Most contracts require that the appliances and systems (electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling) be in working order at the closing. In addition, the Seller must have Building Department approval on all improvements and structures. Finally, the Seller must provide the property vacant and broom clean in most contracts.
For more information on Inspection Prior To Signing A Sale Contract, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (800) 619-3570 today.
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