The home inspection
The home inspection should be arranged within the inspection period to give time for the buyer to review and decide how to proceed. If the property is not available for inspection in a timely manner, for example if the home is occupied by renters, it may be necessary to extend the inspection contingency period by means of an addendum.
If possible, the buyer's agent should accompany the home inspector. The inspector will usually discuss his findings informally with the agent, who will get some feedback on which issues are important and which are trivial. Your agent will be familiar with the home inspection process and be able to act as your representative. The home inspection is the one of the two costs that have to to be paid for up front rather than at closing (the other is the appraisal).
The home inspection report will be sent to both the buyer and the seller, with copies to their agents. If there is no contingency in the sales contract for the seller to make any repairs (an 'as-is' contract), the buyer may at this time decide without penalty not to proceed with the contract if the home inspector's report is unfavorable.
If there is a contingency sum in the contract for the seller to make necessary repairs before closing, the following sequence of events take place:
- The buyer makes a list of the issues raised in the report that he would like dealt with.
- The seller offers to make whichever repairs he feels are appropriate, up to the agreed sum.
- The buyer and seller negotiate as necessary until a list that is agreed by both sides is in place.
- The seller arranges to have the repairs done, and pays for them.
The seller should make agreed-upon repairs promptly. The buyer may ask the inspector to confirm that any agreed repairs have been completed. The sooner the repairs are done, the sooner the contingency can be met. If the repairs include wood destroying organisms (wood rots) it is likely that the mortgage provider, if there is one, will want confirmation that these are completed before closing.
There may be occasions when some work cannot be done until after closing, and this can be acceptable if agreed between the two sides. Alternatively, the buyer may agree to a sum being transferred at closing so that he can have the work done himself.