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4 (of 7) Inspection Misconceptions

1. The home inspection covers both inspections and tests.

The inspection contingency of the Offer to Purchase states that only inspections are authorized, not testing. Inspections and tests are defined differently and require different actions if you want to be protected as the homebuyer. Radon is an example of a test not included in an inspection. A test for radon would require a separate testing contingency – written into the Offer – beyond the standard inspection contingency.

2. Anyone can do a home inspection.

Remember that relative of yours who has owned and repaired a bunch of homes, yeah, that one? They can’t perform a home inspection for you unless specified in the Offer to Purchase. The standard approved Offer notes only a Wisconsin-registered home inspector shall perform an inspection of the property. If you want a relative or contractor to perform the inspection, the Offer must be modified and the seller must accept that modification.

This is important if the inspector recommends a third party inspection (i.e. chimney inspection) or finds flaws during the inspection that require additional negotiation of the Offer. If a family friend or contractor performed the inspection – without the seller’s written agreement – you may be without standing when it comes to negotiating inspection findings of defects.

3. Follow up inspections.

The Offer to Purchase only allows follow-up inspections when recommended by an inspector registered by the State of Wisconsin. Examples of follow up inspections could include the foundation, chimney or air conditioning. Important note: The inspection deadline is not extended based on a recommended follow up inspection. Timing of the inspection process becomes critical and because the inspection clause is time sensitive it must be monitored to protect you.

4. The Home Inspector determines what is or is not a defect.

The Offer to Purchase defines defect as “a condition that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the Property…would impair health or safety…or that if not repaired, removed or replaced would significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises.”

The practical truth is any item listed by an inspector as a defect is determined on a case-by-case basis. The Wisconsin Realtors Association notes “If the parties can’t agree whether an item is a defect, as defined in the Offer, then the parties should be directed to their respective attorneys for advice.

It is not my intention to pick on attorneys but when either party takes an action involving attorneys, the expense of litigating the question of defect may cost more in attorney fees than correcting the problem.

Hopefully you will never have to negotiate the question of “defects”. That negotiation is an art and a science. I think it is harder done when the agent doesn’t work for you or is a part-time buyer agent.

Homebuyer Associates is an Exclusive Buyer Agent. No confusion as to who we advocate for. It is one of the reasons I advocate for our services when you (or someone you know) is considering buying a home.

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Homebuyer Associates
1835 N. Riverwalk Way
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414-254-4129