Q. What is the problem with point of sale inspections by local municipalities?
A. A point of sale inspection is one that is done when a property is sold. For the resale of residential property, these are called Use and Occupancy (U&O) inspections and are required by some (but not all) municipalities.
Often times, the municipality is looking to see if the there are working smoke detectors, handrails, and GFCI protected outlets. Other municipalities may be checking the condition of the sidewalks or to ensure storm water is not making it into the public sewer system. There are some municipalities that treat the U&O inspection almost like a home inspection looking to flag anything they would like to see corrected.
The problem with these inspections is that in any given area, only a small number of homes (1-2%) sell per year. So if the municipality is worried about the cost of treating storm water in the public sewer system, it will take over 60 years for the majority of homes to be sold (and therefore checked for this problem).
If the problem is significant, the solution should be timely and not wait until homes are being sold to solve it. Having one person fix their sidewalks or ensuring one person doesn’t have a leaking sewer pipe, does nothing to solve the overall problem of trip hazards in a community or excess discharges to the sewer authority.
Significant problems should be addressed at once and throughout an entire community to ensure valid resolution and take advantage of economies of scale. And if the problem isn’t significant, then leave the seller and buyer to address any problems within a particular house. That is why disclosure laws exist, buyers have home inspections, and mortgage and insurance companies have their own requirements for a home being to certain standards.
Point of sale inspections can needlessly hamper the sale of homes and cost sellers a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Then the following year when municipalities change their U&O requirements, it only further undermines the value of these inspections.
Contact Scott Loper, Associate Broker, Realtor®, Keller Williams Real Estate at 215-631-1990 (direct line) or 215-631-1900 (main) for help buying or selling a home in Lansdale, Harleysville, Hatfield, Souderton, Skippack, Collegeville, North Wales and the surrounding areas of Montgomery County of Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.
Why U&O Inspections are Pointless - Copyright © 2012, The Scott Loper Team, All rights reserved.
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The Scott Loper Team
Scott & Lisa Loper