When you make an offer on a property, your Purchase Contract will contain provisions allowing you to make various inspections of the property. The purpose of these inspections is to educate you as to the physical condition of the property you are purchasing. While these inspections do not provide guarantees of the condition of the property, they do provide valuable information to you as a Buyer. It is important to remember that your Purchase Contract may provide for withdrawal from the contract if these reports are unsatisfactory. You may also choose to renegotiate the terms of the contract if the results of the inspections warrant it.
Who Pays for Inspections?
Your Purchase Contract will specify who is responsible for the cost of the inspection. Typically, a seller will provide a pest inspection with their other mandatory seller disclosure documents. Sometimes sellers will even provide a general home inspection although we advise that our buyers get their own general inspections to verify the condition and satisfy their due diligence.
Does This Work Have to Be Done?
In our area, most lenders do not require a “clearance” of report items. A “clearance” certifies that any damages noted have been repaired. Many properties in our area are approaching 100 years in age and thus it is rare for them to sell with complete "clearances". Thus all our customers are provided with guidance regarding your options and how you can handle any repairs identified in these reports.
General Property Inspection
The Physical Inspection clause in your Purchase Contract gives you the right to have the property thoroughly inspected. We start this process with a General Property inspection. These inspections take a couple of hours to complete. We request that our customers are available to be at the inspection. Not only will you learn a lot about the home, but it is a great time to ask questions.
There are only a few inspectors in the Bay Area that we recommend to customers. This is because Property Inspectors are not currently required to have a license. Thus, we make sure our inspector referrals are to knowledgeable Bay Area experts. All our inspectors are also members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). The average cost of a General inspection is $500. Multi-unit properties are charged based on the number of units.
Structural Pest Control Inspection
Often referred to as a “Termite Report” or “Pest Report”, the Structural Pest Control Inspection is conducted by a licensed inspector. In addition to actual termite damage, the Pest Report will indicate any type of wood destroying organisms that may be present, including Fungi (sometimes called “dry rot”), which generally results from excessive moisture. The average cost for a pest inspection is $250.
Section 1 Conditions
Most Pest Reports classify conditions as Section 1 or Section 2 items. Section 1 conditions are those which are “active” or are currently causing more damage to the property. They are considered to be items in need of more urgent repair.
Section 2 Conditions
These are conditions that are not currently causing damage but are likely to if left unattended. A typical Section 2 item is a plumbing leak where the moisture has not yet caused fungus decay.
Other Specialty Inspections
There are many other inspections that could be performed before you buy your next property. Since most inspectors charge for their services, we recommend a General Property Inspection and Termite inspection first. These initial inspections can help you to decide if any further inspections are necessary. Below is a list of other specialty inspections that can be performed if the General Property Inspector or Pest Inspector notes a possible deficiency. We advise our customers on what red flags are presented and coordinate the other inspections as necessary.
- Engineering Inspection
- Roof Inspection
- Septic Inspection
- Pool Inspection
- Soils Stability Inspection
- Sewer Inspection