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Why you should get an Inspection

Whether you are buying or selling a home, you should have a professional home inspection performed.
A home inspection will look at the systems that make up the building such as:

  • Structural elements, foundation, framing etc
  • Plumbing systems
  • Roofing
  • Electrical systems
  • Cosmetic condition, paint, siding etc

If you are buying a home, you need to know exactly what you are getting. A home inspection, performed by a professional home inspector, will reveal any hidden problems with the home so that they may be addressed BEFORE the deal is closed. You should require an inspection at the time you make a formal offer. Make sure the contract has an inspection contingency. Then, hire your own inspector and pay close attention to the inspection report. If you aren't comfortable with what he finds, you should kill the deal.

Contingencies in real estate contracts
In real estate contracts the contingency is a common element. Contingencies are clauses in a contract that give either the buyer or seller a way to get out of the contract if certain conditions or timelines aren’t met.  A commonly used example is that of a buyer making an offer on a new home before selling his existing home.  The buyer needs to sell his present home before being able to get financing on the new one.  So he makes his offer contingent upon the sale of his existing home.  There will always be a time period associated with such a contingency.  If the buyer is able to get his present home sold within that time period, the deal can go forward.  But if he fails to sell within the specified time period, the seller has the option of getting out of the deal.  In most cases, sellers won’t accept this kind of contingency, because they will most likely feel that they can find another buyer capable of closing the deal without needing to sell another home first.  But new home builders are often willing to accept an offer contingent upon the sale of an existing home.

Every contract can be unique.  The possibilities for contingencies are virtually endless.  Some of the more commonly used contingencies would include:

Financing.  Contingencies that depend on the buyer being able to obtain financing are very common.

Home Inspections
Probably the most common type of contingency is the “contingent upon satisfactory completion of inspection”.  There are any number of specific types of inspection for which a contingency might be included in a contract.  Some of the more common would include inspection by a qualified home inspector for hidden defects, pest inspections, water and sewage system inspections, inspections dealing with the presence of radon or mold, etc.

Appraisal
.  It’s not unusual for a buyer to have a contingency that allows for a formal appraised value at or above purchase price.  Since lenders will nearly always want an appraisal performed too, sellers usually don’t have a problem with this.

Remember, just like everything else in real estate contracts, contingencies are negotiable.  Always take care before signing that you are comfortable with all contingencies included in your contract.  Likewise, take time to think about what contingencies you might like to have added.

Title Insurance = Peace of Mind
Purchasing a home is probably the single biggest investment you will ever make. Before closing on the house, you'll want to know that no other individual or entity has a right, lien or claim to the property.

Determining that your rights and interests to the property are clear is the business of a title insurance company

For a modest, one-time title insurance premium, you will receive continuous title insurance protection in an amount equal to the purchase price of the property or its current market value. This premium typically includes your "owners" policy as well as the "lenders" policy.
One of the marked advantages of title insurance is that prior to a policy being issued, the title insurance company completes extensive research into relevant public records, maps and documents to trace ownership of the property and determine if anyone other than you has an interest in the property. Through its research, the title insurance company can usually identify any title problems that may arise and have these problems cleared-up prior to closing.

Your title insurance owner's policy will describe the property and outline any recorded limitations on your ownership. It will also set forth the title insurance company's responsibilities should any claim covered by the policy terms arise. Typically your title insurance will protect you from loss:
  • if someone contests your title in legal action (the title insurance company will defend the title at no expense to you),
  • or if there is a title defect that cannot be eliminated (the title insurance company will protect you from financial loss - up to the amount of the policy).

 

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