It's good to know a home's condition


Every year laws are amended and as real estate agents we must stay on top of the latest laws, changes amendments as well as keeping up with latest trends. Our job allows us to work through many real estate contracts and a key part of every transaction is the Home Inspection And Radon Testing Contingency Addendum. Using this addendum offers the buyer an opportunity to be fully educated about the physical condition of the property, ability to renegotiate the original offer or fix any problems that are discovered. Or the addendum can allow for an escape option if the purchaser wants out of the contract. Even new homes should be inspected because new homes can often have foundation cracks which allows for water penetration and would need to be fixed. When buying a home an inspector will give an unbiased opinion of what the problems or potential problems are in a home.

The Inspection of the Home

The home inspection will cover the structure of the home including decks, garages and additions. They will look at and check the structure, the roof, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and appliances. The home inspector will look in the attic, basement and inspect under the house looking for mold and water damage. Their functionality will be reported which must be the same on settlement day as it was the day the contract was written. Some of the things that are not covered on a home inspection are the condition of the fences or sheds, landscaping and swimming pools and the termite inspection. Swimming pools should be inspected by a qualified pool inspector with experience in pool construction and service. The process is not intended to identify every defect or enable the purchaser to demand that every issue be fixed or as an attempt to renegotiate the contract.

Sellers are obligated to provide access to the property for all the buyers representatives (home inspector, radon test company and termite inspector) to facilitate the inspection process, this includes having the utilities in service. If not, the contract will be extended a specified number of days. Permission is needed to authorize painters, decorators or architects to survey the property to accommodate future plans of the purchaser. Buyers will have an agreed specified number of days after the ratification of the sales contract to have the property inspected. Before the deadline the buyer should provide the seller the inspections report with a written addendum listing the specific existing deficiencies of the property that the purchaser would like the seller to remedy together with the purchasers proposed remedies or, the entire copy of the report and notice voiding the contract. The deadline will expire at 9pm of the specified date on the addendum. If the purchaser fails to have an inspection or provide the Inspection Addendum or notice voiding the contract prior to deadline, the contingency will expire and contract will remain in full force with no home contingency.

Let's Discuss this

Once the Inspection Addendum is delivered with the findings as well the remedies to be taken, the negotiation period starts and may last for a specified date, usually 3 days from delivery. The parties can go back and forth in the negotiation as many times as required to come to a mutual agreement. Once they agree on the terms, they must sign a written addendum with the agreed upon terms and remedies that were agreed on. If no agreement is reached the purchaser has the option to void the contract during another set of days specified in the Home Inspection Addendum. If no action is taken during this period then the Home Inspection Contingency will be removed and the contract will remain in force.

Radon to Consider

The buyer will also have a specified number of days to have the Radon Inspection completed. This is usually the same number of days as the home inspection. Radon is a colorless, orderless, tasteless gas that occurs naturally in the ground. It is also radioactive and the second leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It's optional to request a radon test but a good idea to have it done so if there is a problem mitigation can be done. Generally it is a good idea to know the radon levels and have mitigation done prior to putting the home on the market so there are no surprises during the inspection or reasons for a buyer to back out. During the testing period sellers will adhere to the same requirements as the Home Inspection by allowing access and for utilities to be working. The sellers are also required to insure all widows remain shut, exterior doors to be used when needed and not left open and no running of exhaust fans near the test area.

If you have any real estate or area related questions or you're interested in buying or selling a home in Northern Virginia,  contact or call Cleo  1.703.609.7407 & put our team of Northern Virginia home experts to work for you!