A buyer can have any number of inspections done on the property once under contract. These can range from the basis general home inspection to more specialized types of inspections.
We always insist our clients have a general home inspection done with any purchase. This should be performed by a licensed and experienced home inspector with a track record of performing thorough and quality inspections in a timely manner. Depending on the type of financing you are using, this inspection might be mandatory, but our recommendation is to always have one done. This is your one chance to get an outside opinion on the home. The general inspection includes review of the roof, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and overall condition of the home. A good inspector may find things the seller was not aware of and it can verify past repairs were completed in a quality manner.
In the event the general home inspection identifies an issue that goes beyond their scope of work, the inspector may recommend hiring a specialist. For example, the inspector might determine the air conditioning system is not performing properly and it might be necessary to have an HVAC technician take a look at the system.
Sometimes homes are sold in an "as-is" condition. Many times this is because the home was previously a rental, was a foreclosure, or perhaps the sellers inherited the home, and the current owners have never lived in the home and are uncomfortable making uninformed representations as to the condition of the property. Even if the home is being sold "as-is", you should still have a home inspection done.
If permitted, we recommend you be at the home inspection with the inspector if you can. It's a great opportunity for you to ask questions and the inspector may share information with you about the property that may not be part of the home inspection report. Inspectors generally have a long checklist of items they look at with the home. After the inspection is completed, you will receive a report going over these items and identifying any issues found by the home inspector.
After you receive and review the inspection report, this is the opportunity to discuss and negotiate any repair or defect issues identified with the property. Your contract may have included an allowable amount of repairs to be paid for by the seller. We will need to provide a copy of the inspection report to the seller and indicate which items we want fixed. The repairs need to be done professionally and in a workmanlike manner. You should expect to receive a copy of the receipt for repairs done so you have someone to talk to about the work if there are issues after the closing with the repairs.
We need to give the seller ample time to address any of the issues identified in the inspection report. If for any reason the contract must be terminated because the seller does not wish to pay for any required repairs, we want to know this as quickly as possible in order to avoid incurring unnecessary expenses and wasting time.
You may also want to proceed with closing even if the seller refuses to make repairs you deem necessary. The home inspection process only gives you the option to terminate the contract under these circumstances.
Some other inspections you can undertake that are not typically part of the general home inspection include termite inspections, pool inspections, well and septic inspections, and radon inspections. In short, you can have almost any type of inspection done on the property that you believe is important to your decision to close the purchase.