REAL ESTATE IN MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA
HOME INSPECTIONS FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Disclosure requirements for sales of real estate in Maryland
and Virginia, as a matter of law, require that a seller disclose
any known material defects in a home. The disclosure form asks
questions about the heating and cooling systems, water heater,
appliances, roof, basement and structure. However, sellers can
also provide a "disclaimer" meaning they don't have
to disclose any information about the house. We, as buyers agents,
do not rely on owner disclosure for property condition and we
don't believe you should either. Your best protection is to
have a home inspection performed quickly following contract
acceptance. Then you'll really know the condition of systems,
structure, maintenance of mechanicals and age of roof and systems.
Home inspections are not required. If you feel comfortable
buying a home without a home inspection, your offer to buy homes
in stiff competition with other buyers will be viewed favorably.
A home inspection is a contingency on the contract in the Maryland
real estate Contract of Sale. The fewer contingencies on a contract,
the more attractive an offer will be to a seller. You, the home
buyers will have an opportunity to test and operate all systems,
appliances, electrical and plumbing prior to settlement. So,
even without a home inspection, in Maryland and Virginia, the
"walk-through" property condition paragraph still
protects you, the home buyer.
WHO SELECTS THE HOME INSPECTOR?
You, the home buyer may select any home inspector you wish.
You may get recommendations from family or friends. If you wish,
Homefinders.com agents in Maryland and Virginia will recommend
home inspectors that have performed well in the past. Homefinders.com
and our agents receive NO benefit or payment from home inspection
company recommended. We meet new inspectors regularly when our
buyers use their services and keep the names of those that perform
a thorough job with good explanations to our home buyers. ASHI
member home inspectors are recommended. However, we have used
the services of home inspectors who were ASHI members who performed
poorly and inspectors who were not members of ASHI who performed
superbly. Home inspectors in Maryland and Virginia are not licensed
by the state, although that licensure is in the planning stage.
WHAT A HOME INSPECTOR DOES
A home inspector will not only inspect a home for defects, they
will also help our buyers learn how to operate systems, the
average useful life of the systems in a home, the anticipated
repairs in the first year, five years in a home. We recommend
a home inspection. The home inspection is performed as soon
as practicable after a contract of sale is ratified by the buyer
A good home inspector will examine and test the operation of
all systems in the home you are considering buying, including
but not limited to:
If any defects or improperly operating systems are found, the
home inspector will report the defect, usually in writing, and
inform you of the cost of repair or replacement of the item.
Then a written report of deficiencies is presented to the seller.
At that point, the seller can elect to repair the items, counter
the repair list with another offer or refuse to do anything.
The Maryland real estate Contract of Sale provides that, if
the home inspection shows serious defects, the buyer can elect
to void the contract. This protection is not available as easily
WHAT DOES "AS IS" MEAN?
Maryland and Virginia real estate contracts clearly state that
homes are purchased "as is", which means that the
seller can advise you of any defects or require that you purchase
the property "as is".
However, our contracts also state that all mechanical systems
and appliances must be in good working order prior to the "walk-through
inspection", performed usually the day of or day before
settlement. If, during the walk-through inspection, a dishwasher,
refrigerator, disposal, etc. is found not to be operating properly,
and you have not accepted that item "as is", the seller
must repair the item or pay you sufficient money to make the
repairs yourself (negotiable).
So, even if the seller refuses to make desired repairs pursuant
to the home inspection, the item, if it is mechanical, electrical,
plumbing, etc. must still perform in the manner in which the
manufacturer intended at the walk-through inspection. Our agents
will make sure your interests are represented at the home inspection
and the walk-through pre-settlement inspection.
Costs: Most home inspectors charge according to the purchase
price of the home. The home inspection fee for a $200,000 contract
will be approximately $300. For a $400,000 home, the fee will
be approximately $450. The entire process will take from two
to four hours or more. This is a time consuming process, but
can save you many dollars and lots of heart ache following settlement.