FAQ#4 for Buyers: What Kind of Inspections Do I Need?

By
Real Estate Agent with Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group S44645

Questions about inspections usually come up during the initial buyer consultation as one of the costs of purchasing a home.  It also comes up when a buyer is looking at a specific house that may require additional inspections due to a well or septic system.  Inspections will also come up with the lender since some programs require certain types of inspections and sometimes who is to pay for the inspection.  Most importantly inspections are discussed when a buyer is writing a purchase contract because inspections are one of many contingencies that need to be ordered, reviewed and then released after the repairs are resolved.

inspector with magnifying glass

Let's talk about the different inspections that are addressed on the purchase contract:

1. The Whole House Inspection:  This inspection is highly recommended on all properties that you may want to purchase.  It is especially important for properties that have no disclosure such as an estate property or a bank-owned property that may be sold as-is with no repairs.  This means that you are doing the inspection with the understanding that you cannot ask for repairs, but you can void the contract if there is something major that you did not anticipate that needs to be remedied.  This inspections covers the entire house, exterior and interior.

2.  Pest/Termite Inspection:  On the purchase contract in Cedar Rapids, it is called a termite inspection.  In Iowa, there must not be any signs of current active termite infestation in order for the seller to transfer the property.  These inspections will also look for issues with bugs, mice and bats.  The termite inspection is one that VA loans require that the SELLER must pay for on their side of the HUD settlement statement.  The buyer is NOT responsible for this cost.  FHA loans also require a termite inspection to be completed and a warranty to be in force at the time of closing.  All other loans may not require a termite inspection, so you will need to ask your lender if this is required to obtain financing in the program that you are pre-approved for.

3. Radon Inspecton: In Iowa, this is a highly recommended inspection, though not required by lenders.  Iowa has a very high concentration of radon in the ground.  You have a 50/50 chance of having a radon level that is above the EPA standard of 4.0 pc/L.  This test is done over a 2 day period where the windows are to remain closed and doors may only be opened for normal exit and entry.  In Iowa, if the level is above 4.0 pc/L, the seller MUST mitigate the radon and it must retest at an acceptable level.

4.  Well Quality Test:  This is an inspection that is necessary if the property has a water source from a well or a community well.  This is a fairly inexpensive test, under $20.00 and the kits to collect the water sample are available for free at the Linn County Public Health office.  You follow the instructions on taking the sample and then return the sample to the public health office and pay the fee for it to be tested.  The testing process can take up to 10 days and they will mail you the results.  If the well has been tested in the last year, you may request to see the previous test and waive your contingency for this inspection.  If it is a community well, it is REQUIRED that they have a well test completed every year, so you will just need to ask for a copy of the last results. 

5. Septic Inspection:  In Iowa, there is a septic law in place that protects the buyer from a septic system that does not meet current code.  The seller must pay to the have the septic system pumped, then the county inspector must come out to verify that it is up to the current code.  If it is not, the seller must pay to have it brought up to current code up to and including full replacement of the system if necessary.  The septic system must be re-inspected by the county once the repairs are made and then the property may be transferred by the seller to the buyer. 

6. Structural Inspection:  This type of inspection is typically required in the cases of an FHA or VA loan appraiser, or the whole house inspector, have expressed a concern and would like a second specialized opinion.  This is also an inspection that is called if there is visible termite damage even if there is no active infestation.  These inspections are typically ordered by the lender and the findings require the seller to make the necessary repairs in order for the buyer to obtain the financing to continue with the purchase.

You can see that there are many types of inspections available to insure that you are purchasing a safe and sound home with your hard earned money.  The inspections that are required will be discussed with your lender and then they will be listed as contingencies in your purchase contract for whichever ones are applicable to the specific property.  The key is to make sure that you give yourself enough time to have them completed and addressed in writing with the seller before the contingency is waived.

Call me for your free home buyer consultation and we will discuss the average costs of buying a home including the inspections that you will want to include in the purchase contract.  Have a great weekend!

Keep smiling!

Karen

 

 

Posted by

 

Karen Feltman, REALTOR®, ABR, AHS, CHMS,                                                                      CNE,CRS, e-Pro, green, GRI, SRES, TRC

Keller Williams Legacy Group

4850 Armar Drive SE Ste B

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403

Email: karenfeltman@gmail.com

Mobile  319-521-0701

www.KarenFeltman.com

Licensed in the State of Iowa

© 2010-2018 by Karen Feltman, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Relocation Specialist 

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Rainmaker
601,332
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karen - Great list and one that prospective buyers need to think about too.  I don't how much of an issue it is for buyers in IA but out here on the left coast, buyers will also get geological studies if they are on a hillside or even back up to open space or a hillside.  So often, because of earthquakes and rains that cause mudslides, this can be a good report to have for properties on hillsides.

Jan 07, 2011 06:46 AM #1
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

@Donne-No issues with that here, earthquakes or erosion I mean!  Sounds like there are unique issues no matter where you live!

Jan 07, 2011 07:09 AM #2
Rainmaker
5,425,667
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Very good information for home buyers. Best wishes for continued success in 2011!

 The colors of winter in Maryland. Life is good!

Jan 07, 2011 08:35 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,789,651
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

We typically get Home Inspections and Pest/Termite inspections. Depending on those, it might be chimney and roof inspections. Then, as Donne suggests, any particular ones depending upon topography.

Jan 07, 2011 10:05 AM #4
Rainer
71,580
Kevin Nash
Shorewest Realtors, Metro Milwaukee - Germantown, WI
ABR, CSRS

You're on a roll, keep writing! We have simular requirements here. Radon is a big issue and the septic sounds simular too but the seller pays for all the testing via independant contractor. Good stuff, thanks again.

Jan 08, 2011 02:31 PM #5
Rainmaker
528,812
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

@Roy-Thank you for reading!

@Lottie-The chimneys are not typically inspected here, although some home inspectors will take a look at the seller disclosure and recommend that it be cleaned or checked if it appears that it has not been done for a long time.  It all depends on how often it is used! 

@Kevin-Thank you for reading!

Jan 09, 2011 11:57 AM #6
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Rainmaker
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Karen Feltman

Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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