Unless inspections are waived, buyers are entitled to have the subject property inspected by a licensed home inspector, usually within 7-10 calendar days of the conclusion of attorney review.
The home inspector is specifically looking at the structure and maintenance of the home, and will focus his or her attention on four major items:
It is customary -- and advisable -- that the buyer(s) accompany the home inspector on his/her inspection of the home so that:
A) they can find out how systems in the home operate and any regular maintenance recommended.
B) they receive first hand information on anything that is not functioning correctly or items that require replacement or remediation.
Generally the initial home inspection, and the home inspector's recommendations, form the basis for any other recommended inspections such as, but not limited to, mold, asbestos, lead, in-ground oil tanks, chimney, in-ground pool, radon, electrical, plumbing, etc.
Defects are listed in a letter from the buyer's attorney to the seller's attorney, and negotiations ensue to either leave "as is" (especially for items of a cosmetic nature), remediate, or provide a credit at closing (the latter choice is less popular / possible now that mortgage rules are so much more stringent than they were.) Often the real estate agents for the buyer and seller will get involved in negotiations or organize further inspections/estimates in order to facilitate a swifter conclusion.
Even if a home is listed "as is", generally a buyer reserves the right to complete a full inspection to determine the cost of repairs etc. and, while sellers listing an "as is" home will not negotiate per se, buyers still have the option of raising issues that are determined to be "deal breakers." Much depends of course on whether or not the seller received multiple bids (this results in less leverage for the buyer) and the motivation of both parties to get to the closing table.
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