Once you put down a good faith deposit and sign a purchase contract, you have the right to do due diligence, including getting various home inspections. You do have to pay for these inspections yourself unless you agree with the seller that the seller pays for the inspections. However, it is rare that a seller pays for inspections. These costs are also out-of-pocket costs. Before you go through with the purchase, you should do several inspections and other due diligence. It doesn’t matter in which order you do the inspections, but having a general inspection first could save you from paying for other inspections if the general inspection turns up a problem that is a deal-breaker.
When you hire a company for a general inspection, make sure the company is reputable and has good reviews. The inspector will look at the electrical, plumbing, the structure of the house, the attic and, if your house has a basement, which is extremely rare in Florida, the basement. The inspector also checks the crawlspace. They check for leaks and wood-destroying organisms. The inspector also checks for other minor imperfections, such as holes in screens. If the electric and water are not on, the inspector cannot check for electrical issues and plumbing leaks, including whether the HVAC system works.
For any defects that could be deal-breakers, get a quote on how much to repair the defect. You can offer to take care of the problem yourself in exchange for a discount on the price, or you could ask the seller to fix the problem. If the seller refuses either option, you can back out of the contract and get your good faith money back as long as a satisfactory inspection is an exception.
If the general inspector sees signs of termites, they will let you know and will advise that you get a termite inspection. Even if the general inspector does not see signs, you should get a termite inspection, as those inspectors are trained to locate wood-destroying organisms. If the termite inspector finds signs of termite or other wood-destroying organisms and you still want to buy the house, get a quote from the inspector or another company for the cost of repairing the damage and tenting the house. Again, if the seller doesn’t want to cover the cost of the repairs and the eradication of the bugs, you can back out of the contract and get your good faith money back as long as you have the exception for passing a termite inspection in the purchase contract.
Additional Due Diligence
After doing the appropriate inspections and amending the purchase contract — if needed — you should have a surveyor survey the property to ensure the boundary lines are where the seller said they are. Your loan company will also require an appraisal, though the loan company will pick the appraiser. If the survey does not match fencing or other markers, make sure there are no objections with the neighbors for the surveyor to move the markers for the neighbors to move their fence.
If the appraisal is not satisfactory, your lender might ask for additional money down or might deny the loan. You might be able to get your good faith money back if you cannot get the loan.
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