After you purchase a home in California, your purchase contract gives you the right to inspect the property within a given period of time. This is called a “home inspection”. The time frame is a negotiable item in your purchase contract. The default period of time is set to 17 days after acceptance.
Now, here’s how that works…after the seller signs off on the purchase contract or the final counter offer, the time frame for your purchase begins. So, if you have a 30 day escrow, you time of 30 days starts when the offer is accepted not when escrow is opened at a escrow company.
What Happens at a Home Inspection?
The home inspector will inspect the property based on an itemized list so they can give you an accurate report of the condition of the home or condo that you are purchasing. I suggest following the inspector around the home so that when they find something, they can explain it to you. At the end of the inspection, they typically go over everything they found and will produce a written report. This report will describe what they found that needs attention by the seller or future buyer.
How Long Does it Take to do a Home Inspection?
The home inspection takes about 1 to 2 hours depending upon how big the home is and how thorough the home inspector is. Some take photos of problems they discover and some don’t. I suggest that you be present at the home inspection if possible.
What Do I Do With the Home Inspection Report?
Now, as a buyer, you can review the report and ask the seller to fix items within the report. The seller, according to the California purchase agreement, is not obligated to fix any of the items. Most will fix some or all depending upon their motivation to sell the property. Banks that have foreclosed on a property typically do not fix anything. All property sold in California is sold “as-is”, in it’s present physical condition.
To ask for something to repair, you and your Realtor® will prepare a Request for Repairs report that itemizes what you want repaired. Then, your Realtor® will send it to the listing agent who will present it to their client, the seller.
- Tip: Ask for things that a major not minor things like a broken sock face plate that you can buy at Home Depot for less than a dollar.
What Do I Do If the Seller Refuses to Fix the Items that I Want Fixed?
If the seller has not responded before the given time frame in writing according to your purchase agreement (check with your Realtor®) to make any repairs or give you a monetary concession, then you need to decide what to do next. You may decide that the items are very important to you and since the seller choose not to do anything, you may either continue with the purchase or cancel the purchase agreement and find another property with your Realtor®. Please consult your Realtor® for their wisdom and experience on how to handle this matter. We are not attorneys and cannot give you legal advice only real estate advice on matters such as this.
Since it is your responsibility to hire the appropriate inspectors, get it done as soon as possible. Your Realtor®, hopefully from The Red Wagon Team, is one of your best resources for finding ethical home inspectors. Continue reading about home inspections for more details…