Home Inspections are meant to find major defects that may not be immediately apparent or that Sellers may not know of.
You may think you will save money by forgoing the home inspection during the home buying process, not getting one can cost you a lot more in the long run. Broker/Owner Kathy Sperl-Bell invites attorney Heidi Gilmore of Baird Mandalas Brockstedt, LLC to discuss the important purpose of home inspections when you buy a home in Delaware.
Do I Need A Home Inspection?
Kathy Sperl-Bell: Do I need a home inspection? Hi, this is Kathy Sperl-Bell at Active Adults Realty in Delaware and that’s a question we get often from our buyer clients, especially those that are paying cash because they’re looking at every dollar perhaps. Our advice always is get the appropriate home inspections for the property and location that you’re thinking of purchasing.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: Today, we have Atty. Heidi Gilmore, one of the leading attorneys with Baird Brockstedt Mandalas, and frankly my go-to when I have any kind of questions. Let’s start by asking you to just go over from your perspective as the attorney representing the buyer the true purpose of home inspections.
Heidi Gilmore: Sure and thank you for having me today.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: You’re welcome.
Heidi Gilmore: In Delaware, we have the standard form contract that all realtors use and there’s a variety of inspections that it affords the buyer to have. The caveat in Delaware or the rule that we all follow is caveat emptor, which is the neo-Latin phrase that means let the buyer beware. Your contract is going to afford you the right to do inspections and the purpose of those is to really flesh out what is the true quality of the home, what is the buyer really getting. There’s tests and inspections that the buyer is granted the right to do and the principle of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, is for the buyer to really figure out what they’re purchasing and so they can have a home inspection, a termite inspection, a litany of them. That’s the real purpose behind having an inspection is to get the buyer aware through that due diligence what is the property quality that they’re receiving.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: But the purpose also is to identify major defects and safety hazards.
Heidi Gilmore: That is correct.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: Not nitpicking. “I don’t really like how that paint is,” right?
Heidi Gilmore: One of the common misperceptions of buyers is they get to point out every little detail, nail pops on the wall, things like that. We’re not looking for cosmetic things. People are going to go in and make it their own personal reflection in the home after settlement and paint and do those other things. But the inspections are meant to find major defects, the roof, the electrical, the plumbing, all those things about the skeleton of the home to make sure it really is good quality and that there isn’t a safety concern after the purchase to the buyer.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: In fact often the home inspector will start by saying, “You’re not buying a new home.”
Heidi Gilmore: That’s absolutely right. [crosstalk 00:02:41]
Kathy Sperl-Bell: [crosstalk 00:02:41] The purpose is. Also, when a seller list their home for sale in Delaware, it’s required that they complete a seller’s disclosure which now has a 130 questions.
Heidi Gilmore: 130 questions. Yup.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: At least my agents when they’re listing a home, they really sit down with the seller and go through it line item by line item because some people may not know. But we help them answer to the best of their knowledge. It informs the buyer of anything the seller is aware of and frankly it protects the seller by having them disclose that I know that this is a problem that’s going to have to be addressed.
Heidi Gilmore: Well, let me just interject on that there,
Kathy Sperl-Bell: It’s okay.
Heidi Gilmore: … Because some seller’s disclosures have inaccuracies. Some sellers don’t know really what the question is asking. The three answers on the seller’s disclosure is yes, no and unknown. There could be a lot of unknown just because people don’t know what kind of insulation or electrical system they have. Those questions might not be what the buyer really wants to hear. They want to have an inspection and know exactly what type of amperage they have for the electrical, what type of plumbing do they really have and is it really functioning the way it’s supposed to?
Kathy Sperl-Bell: Exactly. Especially in an older home that can be really critical. The other part is an older home needs to be priced appropriately.
Heidi Gilmore: Absolutely.
Kathy Sperl-Bell: Right?
Heidi Gilmore: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kathy Sperl-Bell: Sometimes you find a situation where a home is priced as it if were newer but then you find that some of these nitpicky things are like well … We can negotiate when problems are discovered.
Be sure to check out the next video, Do I Need a Home Inspection Part 2, where we continue the discussion covering radon inspections and more.