After The Home Inspection, but Before Closing on the Home
So you have contracted to buy the home of your dreams (or at least the home you can afford), you were smart enough to find a home inspector independently who is licensed and certified by ASHI and maybe also an engineer for good measure, and you have read the home inspection report cover to cover. What now? Well here is a list of things that you should consider.
First of all, make sure that you are clear about all the issues or defects the home inspection report describes. If you are not completely clear on these, call the home inspector and ask for clarifications. You should also make sure that the implications of not correcting listed defects are known to you. Most home inspectors will be glad to discuss their report with you.
Second, decide which of the deficiencies in the home that are called out in the home inspection report are so compelling that they absolutely must be corrected before you will occupy the home. These are "must correct" deficiencies that your attorney should bring to the attention of the sellers attorney, and your decision to purchase should be contingent upon satisfaction of these serious defects.
Third, decide which of the deficiencies in the home that are called out in the home inspection report materially affect the price of the home that you originally agreed upon. For example, if the home inspection finds that the roof is almost worn out, you will probably have to pay for a new roof soon after you move in. The roof may not be leaking yet, and the seller may make the argument that "the roof is not leaking, so I am not going to replace it", but you have a right to expect a reasonable amount of additional service from the roof ( 5 years is a typical number suggested by most insurance companies). So, be smart, request a price concession to cover the cost of roof replacement. The same goes for any other major system in the home, such as the heating / AC, water heater, etc.
Fourth, do not forget to make sure that there are no abandoned buried oil tanks lurking on the property. An abandoned buried oil tank is a significant potential liability for you. We at Meyers Home Inspections always recommend that a sweep of the grounds for an abandoned oil tank be done unless credible documentation is available that the home never used fuel oil.
In New Jersey, a screening test to rule out high radon levels in the home is recommended. High radon levels in the home are, according to the EPA, are listed as second after smoking cigarettes as a cause of lung cancer.
You should do a walk-through of the home just prior to closing. During this walk-through you should make sure that there have not been any new problems or damage that was not present when the home inspection was done. The walk-through is important because often there is a fairly long period of time between the home inspection and your closing date, and also, in the process of a move-out, there is a high risk that damage may be done to walls, floors, windows etc. Also, if seller turns off the heat but does not summerize the home, there may be serious damage done if pipes freeze. You may wish to use a pre-printed walk-through checklist.
Finally, every home needs regular maintenance to keep it in good shape. A list of maintenance tips can be found at our web site