Once a contract to purchase has been executed, you now have the option and time to have a home inspection performed by the inspector of your choice. While a home inspection is not required, it is highly recommended, even for new home purchases.
General Home Inspection
A professional home inspector licensed in Oklahoma will evaluate dozens of items in a home such as the roof, plumbing, A/C unit, foundation, electrical and structural systems. The inspector will provide a written report of problems they have found. You can then choose to have further detailed inspections if you like, such as HVAC, foundation specialist, or others. A general inspection is not meant to uncover or answer every single problem that might occur in your home. They are there to give you a general overview of the condition of the property. It is up to you if you want more detailed inspections. Of course, you as the buyer must pay for these inspections.
In Oklahoma, there are homes with termites and home that will some day have termites. It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN.
Termite treatment is just a fact of life with home ownership. You should have a qualified termite inspection company check for active termites. In fact if you are financing your home, your mortgage company will usually require you to have the home inspected. If the inspector finds termites, or evidence of infestation in the past, it is not the end of the road. The key is treatment. Has the home been treated in the past? Can it be treated now to eliminate the termite problem? An inspector will provide a written report on their findings and often provide you a one year warranty. If any termites appear while under warranty, the termite company will treat the home at no cost. You can then choose to extend that warranty into the future as the new homeowner.
Depending on what the general home inspector finds, you may wish to have further specialty inspections. Of course as the buyer you are responsible for paying the inspectors. But they can save you potentially thousands of dollars in repairs. Of course no inspector – no matter how skilled – can predict every future problem you might have. Most only determine whether the system is working at the time of the inspection. Even with the best HVAC inspector, your A/C compressor can fail a week after closing and you are still liable for the repairs.
Once you have received the inspection reports, you can choose to continue with the purchase or opt out at that time. In the standard OREC purchase contract, it is the sole discretion of the buyer to continue or cancel the contract if the inspections are unsatisfactory. In most cases if you choose to cancel the contract during your alloted 10 day inspection period, you get a full refund of your earnest money. But you want to be careful and not just cancel on a whim. Since the seller has taken their property off the market, maybe even placed a contract on another home, it could become litigious if you cancel without a good reason.
TRR – “Treatments, Repairs and Replacements”
Once the inspections are complete, I will help you prepare a document we call TRR. This document provides detailed information to the seller on what items from the inspections you would like repaired. The items must be defects in the home, NOT cosmetic in nature.
Once the seller has your TRR, they have a specified amount of time in the contract to get estimates for those repairs. Usually on minor repairs (such as a leaking faucet) the seller may choose to repair those themselves. On major items such as electrical and plumbing, we generally require them to have the work done by a licensed tradesman. The buyer and seller can either negotiate which repairs will be done, or the buyer can cancel the contract and walk away and receive a full refund of your earnest money.
Final Walk Through
Once all repairs have been completed (and preferably after the seller has moved out), just before closing, you have the right to do a final walk-through of the property. This is your chance to make sure the repairs you requested are completed, the home is left in proper working order, and everything is as expected. Sometimes this is done the morning of closing, but we prefer to do the walkthrough a day or so in advance so that any problems that arise can be rectified.
Items to Inspect
- Structural – foundation, roof, slab
- Well (if applicable)
- HVAC system