You Don’t Need A Home Inspection
Just kidding. I want to take a minute to discuss your right to a home inspection, what you should expect from an inspector and an agent, what your rights are, and what happens after closing.
Your Rights Per the Virginia Regional Sales Contract:
Our contract gives the purchaser X number of calendar days from contract acceptance (“ratified”) to hire a home inspector and get them into the house. Once the inspection is completed, you’ll have 2 options: provide a copy of the written report to the sellers with a list of requested repairs (or money in lieu of repairs) or you retain the ultimate right to void the contract. If the house is sold “as-is,” generally you’ll only have the option to void or take it. Otherwise, in a normal sale, the sellers then have the opportunity to counter your list of requested repairs.
What You Should Expect from an Inspector and a Realtor(R):
Let’s start with your agent: real estate agents sell houses. We can tell you value, market conditions, give you some ideas for renovation potential, etc. but we can’t not (and should not) comment to house condition. Of course I can always tell you what I see – if a window is foggy, my guess is the seal is broken; if there is a giant black stain on the wall, I can tell you with some certainty that’s probably mold; etc. But for the age and lifespan of your major systems (heating, cooling, appliances, etc), cracks in walls, etc. you’ll want someone who’s a licensed home inspector to tell you what’s going on with the house.
Things to expect from your inspector: this is a VISUAL inspection – they’re not going to cut behind walls, move appliances, or turn on the house near the house to see if it’ll flood. What they should do is get on the roof, if it’ll allow that, get into the attic to check insulation and for raccoons, squirrels, etc, if there’s easy access, get into the crawl space if it’ll allow for it…and then check the heating, cooling, plumbing, appliances, windows, and look for any visible foundation damage.
What Happens After Closing?
A house needs things. Depending on age, sometimes more than others. Expect things to break as you live in it. Obviously if something goes wrong a month after you close, that’s bad luck, but just because it breaks after you move-in doesn’t necessarily mean it was broken and someone missed it (although that can always happen). Just budget for general maintenance and upkeep of the house. If you’re really worried, get a home warranty.
If you decide to forego an inspection, that’s ultimately up to you, but I would have you sign something that acknowledging I advised you to get one. My own brother didn’t do one when he bought their new house, but he does property management for a living and knows as much as a licensed inspector, so he didn’t want to pay for someone to tell him what he already knew.
But just remember – don’t ever say I told you you didn’t need one…April Fools’!