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Avoid a Lemon! Get a Real Estate Inspection
A general inspection is a professional evaluation of the house and its major systems including the drainage system, electrical system, condition of roof, and the foundation. If you're selling your home, a general physical inspection is always needed. Your home should also pass what's called a wood destroying pest and organisms inspection.
Sometimes these pest reports will mention structural conditions that are outside its specific jurisdiction, for example if the pest contact inspector sees a failing roof, cracks in a foundation, or a plumbing problem. A disclaimer may be included in the report advising the potential buyer to seek the help of the appropriate professional. Don't count on the pest control inspector to point out anything that isn't in his jurisdiction, however. Only some inspectors will do this, but not all of them.
If you're buying a brand new home, condominium, or townhouse, it's a good idea to have it inspected by a general building inspector before you purchase. One of the most difficult things about a newly constructed home is that they haven't had years to wear. It's almost impossible to predict problems that will occur in the future, so have a professional look at it.
When you're having your new home inspected, have the plans, soils report, engineering calculations, city inspector reports, and any other available documentation available for the inspector. He will usually want to see these, and having them available makes the process all the more smoother.
If you are buying a home, you should attend the general inspection of the home you're buying. Not only will you be able to oversee everything, but you might learn something too.
There are rare occasions when a buyer can't include a physical inspection contingency in the offer to purchase. Foreclosure sales are usually "as-is" sales and are exempted from the Transfer Disclosure Requirement. When you are buying an estate or foreclosure property it's important to have both a general building inspector and a structural pest inspector thoroughly inspect the property.
Over the years, concern has raised about environmental hazards found in or on all types of residential properties. The Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement specifically asks sellers if they are aware of any environmental hazards on their property.
Common environmental hazards found on residential property include asbestos, formaldehyde, radon gas, lead based paint, fuel or chemical storage tanks, and contaminated water or soil. It's highly expensive to remove environmental hazards like these, so it's recommended you stay away from such properties unless you really know what you're getting yourself into.
Many sellers are aware of such problems, however. A common way for sellers to avoid their disclosure responsibilities is to sell their property "as-is." Marketing a home for sale like this often has a negative impact by scaring off potential buyers. Selling as-is is acceptable only when all defects are in writing and both parties agree.
Selling a property as-is doesn't relieve the seller of legal responsibility for disclosing material defects, though. Withholding information isn't recommended at all, and is actually illegal and considered fraudulent by the court of law.
About the Author: Published by Joe and Colleen Lane, Realtors®. The Lane Real Estate Team services Tri City Wa Real Estate, Kennewick Wa Real Estate, Pasco Wa Real Estate, Richland Wa Real Estate, and surrounding Southeastern Washington Communities.