If you're buying an existing home, you'll probably want to make the deal contingent on your being satisfied with inspection reports. There are several kinds of inspections to consider. You can provide for one or more of them in the sales contract.
- Contractor's Inspection. An experienced contractor can spot problems - or potential problems - with the home's electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning systems. The inspector can also check out the condition of the roof, basement, and other structural elements. If you're not satisfied with the condition of the house, the seller may agree to reduce the sales price or correct the problems before closing. If that doesn't work, you're free to cancel the deal.
- Radon Inspection. Radon is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas that can cause health problems - especially if the level exceeds 4.0 picocuries per liter. The contractor who inspects the home can use a simple test kit to determine the radon level. If the level is too high, there are ways to remediate the problem. You and the seller can work which of you will pay for the remediation.
- Lead-Based Paint Inspection. Lead-based paint may be present in older homes. This can be a problem if you have young children. You can have the home checked for lead-based paint, and then determine the cost of correcting the problem. If the seller is unwilling to bear the cost, the contingency clause in the sales contract will let you void the contract.
- Pest Inspection. A qualified pest inspector can check for the presence of wood-destroying insect or damage caused by them.
- Well and Septic Inspection. If the home isn't served by municipal water and sanitary sewer services, you want to make sure the well water is safe to drink and the septic system is in good shape. Health regulations in Washtenaw County require a homeowner to have a certified inspector examine the well and septic system before selling the home. Your home purchase should be contingent on your satisfaction with the inspection report. You can also have an inspection made by an expert selected by you.
The attorneys at the Ann Arbor firm of Hamilton, Graziano & London can help you include appropriate contingency language in the sales contract, and advise you on issues related to inspections.