CRITICAL INFORMATION YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FLORIDA INSPECTIONS
A home Inspection is a Vital Necessary Step in the House Buying and Selling Process
Getting your future home thoroughly inspected is a vital step in the buying process. You’ll be responsible for finding and paying a licensed inspector, to learn the condition of every aspect of the house.
Having a professional assess and inspect the home will let you know if you are getting what you’re paying for. Home inspector fees typically range from $300-$500, depending on the location and size of your property. Once scheduled, a home inspector will look carefully at the condition of the home, list any potential problems or if there are repairs needed. The inspector will examine the structure and systems of the home – such as the heating, plumbing, and electrical – identify existing or potential problems and may recommend ways to address them. The report will help you make an informed decision about whether you want to continue with the purchase. If there are flaws discovered during the home inspection, you may be able to use it to your advantage during negotiations to get a price reduction.
If you’re planning on selling your home, consider a home inspection as well. It will give you an opportunity to make repairs and ensure that a buyer’s inspector finds your property in good condition for a sale.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A HOME INSPECTION?
An inspector will do a visual check of the home’s:
- Heating system
- Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
- Electrical systems
- Roof, attic, and visible insulation
- Walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors
- Foundation, basement, and the visible structures of the home
- Environmental concerns (removal of oil tank, etc.)
The inspector should provide a written report immediately after the inspection. If the inspector finds many problems and gives the home failing grades, you may withdraw from the agreement provided that option was in the contingency clause in your offer.
The home should also be inspected for termites, radon, lead paint, and asbestos, which is not covered in a basic inspection.
WHERE CAN I FIND A HOME INSPECTOR?
Florida has laws to qualify home inspectors and regulate the inspection process. To locate an inspector near you, visit:
- The American Society of Home Inspectors: https://www.homeinspector.org
Prior to closing, you and your lender need to complete a few final tasks.
Before the lender can give you a mortgage, a title search must be done to verify that the seller truly owns the property and that there are no liens (claims) on the property. If there are any claims, the seller is required to pay them prior to the closing.
The lender will require you to purchase title insurance to protect its investment in case a question about the validity of the title arises after closing. Additional title insurance to protect your investment is also available.
You will need to obtain homeowner’s insurance prior to closing. A paid receipt and declaration of issuance must be presented at closing.
Most transactions will require providing the lender with a certified property survey. The survey is a technical drawing of the property and its structures. A survey can take a few weeks and should be ordered well in advance of the closing date. The buyer is usually responsible for ordering and paying for the survey.
The lender will order a flood search on the property, which determines whether the property is located in a designated flood zone. Federal flood insurance is available to those residing in flood zones and may be a condition of the mortgage commitment.
If the property contains a septic tank, a system certification by an engineer or septic expert may be required.
The state requires that drinking water wells be tested for contaminants. If the property is served by a well, contact the county health offices and one of their employees will usually handle the water quality test.
In certain areas, a termite inspection must be completed prior to closing. The seller generally pays a termite inspection firm to inspect for termite damage and infestation. A certificate of inspection should be delivered to your lender before closing.
DON’T BUY FURNITURE, APPLIANCES YET!
You have qualified for a loan. You’ve found the house you want. The contract is signed, and the closing is in 30 days. Even though it might feel like the right time to buy furniture or appliances, hold off on these big purchases until after the closing. Don’t celebrate by financing another big purchase. Lenders pull credit reports before the closing to make sure the borrower’s financial situation has not changed since the loan was approved. Any new loans on your credit report can jeopardize the closing.
Buyers, especially first-timers, often learn this lesson the hard way.