You’ve fallen in love with your dream home and everything looks good with regards to it’s condition so what could go wrong? In our article today; Seller Disclosures & Buyers Concerns we’ll discuss the importance of proper disclosure paperwork and inspections. But wait, I’ve turned on the faucets, checked for leaks and the electrical, roof and other items appear to be in good working condition, should I be concerned of anything else? It’s important to do a full and complete inspection which will cover in today’s article.
Look at it like this, if you were to buy a car and the seller said you cannot test drive the car but you can have it looked at by a mechanic would you skip the mechanics inspection? Definitely not! Buying a home is just like buying a car that you cannot test drive because obviously you cannot live in the home before you buy it unless you do a lease option which is for another future article. You need to make sure the home you’re buying is in the condition you’re aware it’s in.
One way to gain knowledge of the properties condition is by Seller’s Disclosure Paperwork. Buyers entering into escrow with a traditional residential purchase will be given paperwork from the seller such as a Sellers Property Questionnaire and Transfer Disclosure Statement. Feel free to contact us for sample copies of these items. These two documents are a wealth of information on the condition of the property because the Seller will complete them personally and to the best of their knowledge. Information contained in these documents will include but are not limited to whether there have been any deaths on the property, was the property used for drug manufacturing, if any upgrades have been done to the property and gets as detailed as if pets were present at the property.
Seller Disclosures & Buyers Concerns
It’s important to have good agent representation when buying a home because items such as the disclosures above will be automatically requested by your agent to the listing agent and/or Seller. You want to make sure the Seller has disclosed any material facts pertaining to the property so you as the Buyer are aware of exactly what you’re getting. One exception you as a Buyer might encounter in this is if you’re purchasing a foreclosure property that is bank owned. Properties that are bank owned may have special circumstances such as Seller not being aware of the property condition and thus may be exempt from completing these documents. In cases like these it’s crucial to rely on other inspections such as a home inspection to ensure you’re aware of the properties true condition.
Never assume when it comes to property condition. In California, unless otherwise stated Buyers will have 17 days to complete their due diligence and do any inspections on the property that they’d like to complete. Use this time wisely! Typical inspections that most Buyers rely on are a Home Inspection, Roof Inspection, Wood Destroying Organism Inspection and if applicable a Pool Inspection. When you’re doing inspections it’s important to remember not to be cheap, the money you save doing inspections may very well cost you thousands down the road. Take the time to do proper and thorough inspections.
Upon reviewing the inspection reports if you find items that are of concern you’ll then have the option to negotiate with the Seller on getting some of those items fixed. This is a time that you’ll want to concentrate on items that are of Health & Safety nature because while asking for a room to be painted is within your right it will take away from the real issues you’re trying to get resolved. Be reasonable in your requests, remember that all properties are technically sold in as-is condition so a Seller has no obligation to fix the items you’re requesting, in fact a Seller technically doesn’t have any obligation to even respond at all. If after reviewing the inspections and potentially negotiating any repairs you’re not comfortable then this is the time you need to cancel your contract. Inform your agent of your concerns and ask them to prepare a Notice of Cancellation. There will be no penalties for cancellation providing you’re within your inspection timelines and have not removed any inspection contingency.
Once all reports have been reviewed and you as the Buyer are comfortable moving forward then your escrow will proceed as normal. The next items will cover in this article is the Final Walk-Through Inspection. The final walk-through is very important because it’s your last chance to ensure a) the property is in the same shape as it was in when you offered on it including any new damage and b) any negotiated repairs have been completed. Ideally you’ll want to complete this inspection inside of 5 days but do not exceed 7 days before your close date as a lot can happen in a weeks time. Another good reason to be represented by a Realtor in your purchase is because many Buyers purchase homes due to job relocation’s or simply moving from out of town, being an out of town buyer may make it difficult to attend your final walk-though. While your agent cannot sign-off or guarantee the properties condition at close they can do a video for you to show you the homes condition so you know what to expect. This is not the best way to do your final walk-through but if it’s the only way it’s better than not doing one at all.