No matter the part you played in the inspection, you will end up with a report and decisions to be made. If you attended the inspection, you may have an idea of significant concerns relayed by the inspector. If you did not, the report should address these and other items that may affect your intentions.
But how are these addressed? Who decides what happens? Do you ask for repairs? Do you ask for a financial concession? Do you walk away?
From an inspector standpoint, our role is to provide a thorough and unbiased report of the conditions of the home at the time of the inspection. Oklahoma home inspection state law prevents the inspector from indicating if they would or would not purchase the property and also prevents the home inspector from providing any type of repair estimates. Going further, the inspector is not allowed to repair or offer to make repairs on the inspected home for a period of one year. In simplest terms, the inspector is there to perform an inspection and answer any related questions afterwards.
The first step after the home inspection is to read the home inspection report thoroughly. Do not assume that everything important to you was addressed at the inspection or during a short verbal summary. After reading the reports and deciding what issues need to be addressed, additional follow-up inspections may be necessary.
Here are a few examples where this may occur:
There may have been a recommendation for a structural engineer or foundation professional.
Electrical issues may have been brought to light that require an estimate from an electrician.
The termite inspector may have found indications of termite activity and recommended treatment.
Do not assume that the home inspection is the end of the due diligence process.
What about simply leaving this to the Realtor? Isn’t that their job? Yes, and no. The Realtor is there to guide you through the process and leverage their experience to help you make informed decisions. The ideal scenario would be that you read the entire home inspection report and discuss your concerns with your realtor. They will guide you based on their experience and let you know what it is or is not reasonable based on the current market environment. It is most important that you let them know what is or is not important to you. Do not assume that their focus on inspection items will match with yours. I can recount numerous examples of receiving phone calls months after the inspection due to a problem only to point out exactly where in the report it was previously addressed.
What items should we address? Understand that unless you are buying a new construction home (and even these sometimes have issues), the home will not be perfect. From an inspector standpoint, the only time you should expect a perfect home is on new construction. That being said, don’t expect the Seller to turn a “used“ home into a new home with zero issues. The home inspection report is not simply designed to create a list of items for the seller to address. While it will accomplish this, that is not the point of a home inspection. Narrow the report down to the most important items to you- then determine if they are items that are reasonable to request. A damaged roof, for example, may not be insurable and it would be extremely reasonable to request for it to be repaired or replaced. Swapping out filters for the HVAC system is more of a maintenance item and probably not a reasonable request. The market will typically dictate what is or is not reasonable. If it is a sellers’ market, asking for too much may cause the seller to simply cancel the deal.
The TRR. This is the request for Treatments, Repairs or Replacements. This is where you will make requests based on inspection findings. A good realtor will definitely show their value in this process. Requests should be detailed and thought through. A request that may need a qualified professional such as a licensed electrician, should specifically state that. Repair receipts should be requested. Trust that the seller will want to spend as little as possible so if there are any loopholes in the requests you can bet they will tend to take the least expensive option. We often will complete repair verification inspections only to find that the homeowner did many of the repairs themselves despite having no training or qualifications to do so.
You may want to be present or have discussions with any professionals that completed repairs on electrical, plumbing, or HVAC components. It may be that they advised significant repairs based on their on-site findings that went beyond what was requested on the TRR.
Consider an air conditioner that wasn’t working during the inspection.
Evaluation and repair by an HVAC contractor was recommended by the inspector and requested on the TRR. The contractor found significant functional problems but advised that he could simply top-off the refrigerant to make it functional for the time being.
Would you want to know that the air conditioner will likely not work at the beginning of the next season? This specific example happens on a regular basis, unfortunately.
Understand that making a TRR request is simply another step in the negotiation process. The seller can counter, decline, or even walk away. Use caution and rely on the experience of your realtor.
Lastly, understand that there is no such thing as a perfect home. Things happen and will continue to happen over time. Everything can be fixed – it’s just a matter of the cost. Being familiar with the home and items from the inspection report will you allow you to budget for necessary repairs and maintenance items over time.
Author: Redbud Property Inspections | Steve Bennett
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