Condo Inspections, AS-IS Contracts and Nit Pickery

It’s mail day! There have been a variety of question regarding home inspections from both buyers and sellers. Here’s the latest and greatest from the mail bag that I’m able to squeeze into six-hundred-ish words or less:

Question: The home we’re interested in is offered as-is with the right to inspect? Are they trying to dump their can of worms on us?

Well I’m not sure who the “they” is but the “they” is usually giving you the opportunity to inspect the real estate thoroughly and decide whether or not you’d like to move forward with the purchase based upon those results. There are a variety of reasons why real estate can be for sale as-is. For example, it could be bank involved, either a short sale or foreclosure or part of an estate liquidation where the heirs have no knowledge of the condition.

As-Is with the right to inspect isn’t necessarily a hostage situation. It’s simply a situation where the sellers are willing to negotiate a sale price with you, you’re offered a period for inspections and due diligence and if the defects are too much for you to repair or undertake, you may exercise the right to excuse yourself from continuing with the purchase. If you have concerns you really should hire a real estate attorney to walk you through the process and explain your rights as a home buyer.

Question: The home inspection report for the home we are selling literally had a couple dozen items on it. Some of it seemed like the buyers are nit picking. Are we seriously expected to fix all of this?

First and foremost, even homes in the most pristine condition will have a few items on the inspection report. Some home sellers feel personally attacked because even the tiniest items end up in the report; discolored areas of walls, stains, torn screens, cracked tile, you name it. It doesn’t mean that the seller is responsible to remedy each item. The contract delineates which items are cosmetic and which items are actually considered a “defect” and warrant a repair or replacement.

Simply put, the buyers have hired a professional to inspect a property they may have only physically been inside of for a brief visit or two. The buyers are expecting and paying for a comprehensive report on the condition of the home. They didn’t personally type up the list to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Items like “cigarette smoke odor” or “several cracked tile which runs across the room” will be put on a on a report. Items that seem out of the ordinary get reported for the buyers benefit even if it isn’t something that is ordinarily covered as a seller’s responsibility to correct on template contracts.

Question: Should we get a home inspection on a condo?

Yes. Even a condo in the best condition can have issues that a buyer needs to know about. During an inspection all systems are checked, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, appliances, etc. Often times, inspectors will also recommend radon testing, air quality (mold) if they see reasons to do so. Most importantly, many inspectors now offer thermal imaging which can indicate moisture intrusion and wiring issues. It’s an absolutely lifesaving technology that can nearly see through walls for defects invisible to the naked human eye.

If you elect to not have an inspection you will likely be asked to sign a release for liability.

Until next week … that’s it, Fort Pitt.


Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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