One of the most critical decisions for a Buyer, when one is under contract to purchase a home, is whether or not to have a professional inspection performed on the property by a licensed Inspector. As far as the Real Estate Purchase Contract is concerned, this topic comes under what is termed as the Buyers Due Diligence.
The items which typically are investigated for their integrity by a professional inspector relate to an evaluation of the physical condition of the property. The items are not limited to but do include the following: the condition of the roof, walls, and foundation, the condition of the plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and heating and air conditioning systems and fixtures, and the condition of all appliances.
The cost of a professional inspection varies depending on the complexity of the inspection and the square footage of the property. However, typically a Buyer purchasing a single family residence can expect an out-of-pocket cost of $300-$400 for the inspection. Most inspectors will provide a very comprehensive written report of the findings of the inspection as well as beneficial advice for ongoing maintenance. Many inspectors will provide photographs in the report which focus on any problem areas.
A professional inspection can provide invaluable information and peace of mind when making one of the most significant purchases one will make. However, for many of us, $300-$400 is not an insignificant out-of-pocket expense. Therefore, in the past, some Buyers have justified the forgoing of an inspection based on the fact that the Real Estate Purchase Contract contained a number of Seller warranties which survived closing. Others were content to have an astute friend or relative look the property over, rely on their own conclusions, or just hope that nothing dramatic will surface in the future.
However, the Utah Division of Real Estate has made changes to the Real Estate Purchase Contract effective January 1, 2009. These changes warrant serious consideration to a thorough inspection and would be deemed an important and wise investment. The Seller warranties which formerly survived the closing of the contract no longer exist! The Buyer now acknowledges and agrees in reference to the physical condition of the property, that the Buyer is purchasing the property in its “As-Is” condition without expressed or implied warranties of any kind! Therefore, it is incumbent on a Buyer to take advantage of the Due Diligence period by completely inspecting and evaluating the condition of the property to determine if one should elect to proceed with the purchase of the property or not.
If a Buyer relies wholly on his/her own judgment, the tendency is to locate problems which are easily observable and cosmetic in nature. Some of the most serious and potentially expensive issues are not easily visible. A professional licensed inspector has the expertise, experience, and equipment to detect issues which could later be unpleasant surprises. Therefore, even though it is not inexpensive and is an out-of-pocket expense, we highly recommend as part of your Buyer Due Diligence, that to invest in an inspection by a certified, licensed inspector, is money well spent.