Purchasers often include a Home Inspection Contingency in the Contract. This provides that their obligation to complete the purchase is conditional upon completion of a home inspection. This inspection is performed by a professional home inspector or engineer and typically occurs within a short time period after final ratification of the contract. Effective January 1, 2008, all Maryland home inspectors must, as of this date, be licensed pursuant to procedures and requirements established by the Maryland Commission of Real Estate Appraisers and Home Inspectors. The home inspection is made at the sole cost of the purchaser.

The substantive provisions included in such a home inspection contingency vary widely and must be carefully reviewed if included in your contract. For example, some inspection contingencies permit the purchaser to terminate the agreement if the results of the inspection are unsatisfactory to the purchaser, for any reason. Other contingencies permit the purchaser to terminate the contract only if the Seller refuses to remedy any defects noted in the home inspector’s report. The manner of satisfaction and release of the contingency is typically set forth in a very specific manner. Careful review and drafting (or revision) of the contingency utilized in your contract is, therefore, recommended.

Federal law requires that before any residential property constructed prior to 1978 (“target housing”) may be sold, certain required disclosures, with regard to lead paint, must be made to the purchaser. Additionally, the purchaser must be afforded an opportunity to have the target property evaluated by a licensed inspector to determine whether lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards are present. (Purchasers of residential RENTAL properties in Maryland should also be aware of the applicability of the Maryland Lead-based Paint Program to properties constructed prior to 1979.

Why You Should Do A Home Inspection

Buying a home is an expensive and serious endeavor. According to various studies, most Americans will remain at their home of purchase for an average of thirteen years. One study states that Americans spend roughly 62% of their time inside of their home specifically, not just indoors of any building. Therefore, regarding the matter of you choosing a home and then contracting to purchase it, it highly recommended that you take all steps necessary to ensure that the home you choose is the right home for you and your family. 

Paying for a licensed home inspector may seem like an additional expense, but it can save you a lot of financial expenses down the line. A licensed home inspector has an eye for detail and facts that an excited Purchaser is less likely or even incapable of seeing. Where a regular Purchaser, who has no background in home inspection, will most likely base her or his decision on the overall appearance of the home, its location, and how many bedrooms it has, a home inspector will consider the home’s faults.

A licensed home inspector will inspect the foundation of the property, such as the stability of the floorboards; whether there are noticeable and significant holes or cracks that will let in rainfall, rodents, or other nuisances; the durability of the plumbing system (e.g.Are the pipes loose? Are the pipes old? Is the plumbing running in a logical manner regarding how and where it flows? How likely are these pipes to freeze or burst during the winter season?); the safety of the electricity system (e.g., such as whether any wires are cut or loose); the circuit the electricity systems runs on (if there’s a break in the circuit, will one or a few rooms lose power or will the entire house lose power?); the quality of the roof, and more.

To further demonstrate the significance that is added to a home inspection, you should be made aware that most Home Purchaser contracts are contingency contracts that will allow you to break the contract if a home inspection shows that the home has problems. Typically, you can renege on the contract without any cost to you. After all, unless stated otherwise, you are not expecting to purchase a fixer-upper and, even if you are, certain faults are far too dangerous and expensive for a company to agree that you should have to pay for the repairs.

Lastly, you should do a home inspection and include this clause in your contract so that there is a record of evidence that you, as the Purchaser, and the Seller were both aware of the home’s defects. It is never ideal to be caught up in a case of he say, she say or for a “your word against mine” regarding what agreement or agreements were made regarding who will cover the costs of repairs and whether the contract can be broken regarding home defects argument.