Exactly How Important Is My Home Inspection?

As I sit in Court, waiting for my client’s case to be called, observing the cases on the docket in front of me, wouldn’t you know it, the next one is a homeowner/Buyer (“Plaintiff”) suing the former homeowner/Seller (“Defendant”) for post-closing inspection issues. This case is dead on arrival, but it should at least be interesting.

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The story is the usual one. Seller and Buyer enter into a standard contract for the purchase and sale of a home. Buyer has a home inspection and plumbing issues are discovered. Major, water running down the walls, type of plumbing issues. Buyer makes plumbing repair requests and Seller says no. Buyer is a tenant and feeling pressure to close anyway because she’s already given her landlord notice. She has spent money on inspections and appraisals. She feels like she has no choice, so she closes anyway. Without the plumbing repairs and water still running down the walls.


Her agent told her she could just sue the Seller, post-closing.


Agents and brokerages were named, but only the Buyer was in the Courtroom and she was clearly shocked the “legal advice” from her agent was completely wrong. The Judge was patient. He was kind. He very gently told her she had no case as he read a large portion of the contract back to her and into the record. The Judge then ever so gently, entered judgement in favor of the Seller.

And by the way, what did the Seller have to say in his defense? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It wasn’t necessary. He didn’t even appear in Court, nor had he filed an answer to the complaint. He just sent in his lawyer and as it turns out, that was all he needed to do for absolution. Judgment in his favor, and nothing for the Buyer.

So, what is the moral of the story? Representation in the largest financial transaction you will likely make – or the advice and a chance to walk away from it – is always a good idea.

Call us before you close. Better yet, call us when you make your offer. Post-closing issues are rarely resolved to the satisfaction of a Buyer once you leave the closing table.

Don’t be that post-closing, unhappy homeowner. Protect yourself, your investment and your piece of mind.

The Home Inspection Period: The Seller’s Perspective


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It’s natural to feel a sense of relief when you finally sign a contract of sale on your property and prepare to hand over the keys. However, don’t assume the process is over just because you have a signed contract. The home inspection period may be for the buyer’s information and use, but you need to be ready to review results, respond to requests and negotiate repairs. Here are five things to keep in mind:

  1. Be flexible. Just like you had to drop everything for every last-minute showing you need to be ready to give the buyers access to the property for their inspections.
  2. Try not to take the inspections personally. Many if the sellers we work with here at firm struggle while reviewing home inspection results. When your home of however many years has been evaluated by a third party it can be hard to separate your emotions from the reports. An inspector may say your chimney is a hazard, but you have been using it for years! There can’t be mold in the bedrooms- your children slept there! Take a step back and remember the buyers don’t know your house and are not trying to insult you. They just want to make sure the home they are buying is safe and ready for them.
  3. Rules change. Many homeowners who have been in the same property for a long time are surprised by changes to the township codes or requirements. Unfortunately, just because something has worked well for 20 years does not mean you may not have to make some changes. Consult with your attorney to find out what you need to do to fulfill your obligations to the new buyers.
  4. While there are some small repairs sellers are allowed to make themselves, the standard New Jersey contract requires any repairs (like electrical or HVAC) requiring a professionally licensed contractors be completed accordingly. You also need to be sure repairs are properly permitted with the township to avoid any last minute complication.
  5. Keep you receipts! Once you have negotiated and agreed to inspections, make sure you keep all receipts to show the work was completed and completed by the proper professionals.

One final thought on the home inspection period: if a deal is going to fall apart, it is most likely to fall apart in these 14 days. With that understanding you should approach the inspection period with the same attitude as listing your house: the more you know, the better off you will be. A real estate attorney can help you negotiate your legal rights and responsibilities and help you clear this final hurdle so you can move on with confidence and only fond memories of your former home.

The Home Inspection Period: The Buyer’s Perspective

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You’ve just signed a contract on your dream home – congratulations! As exciting as it can be to officially go under contract, put down the champagne and pick up the phone because the first 14 days after attorney review has ended is your home inspection period and it is possibly the most important part of the real estate buying process. Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. The 14-day time frame is to carry out and present your requests to the seller. This means you need to schedule any inspections with enough time to allow for the report to be completed and reviewed before sending to sellers.
  2. There are three main inspections that are carried out in almost every transaction: wood destroying insect, radon, and the general home inspection; however, some buyers choose to order additional inspections depending on their own personal concerns or the property type. As a buyer you have the right to order any inspections on the property you would like within the home inspection period but it is also your responsibility to order inspections. If you decide not to order an inspection you are waiving a number of rights and should be aware of the consequences.
  3. You are responsible for the costs of your inspections. These inspections and reports are for your use and information, so you are responsible to pay for them. You should also not expect any kind of refund from the seller if you decide, based on your inspections, not to move forward. $450.00 spent on a house you do not buy may seem like a lot but if the report provided you with information which saved you from the purchase $400,000.00 house you were no longer interested in buying, it was probably money well spent.
  4. There are limits to what you can ask for! When making your repair requests, be aware there are things you can ask for under the contract, but other changes like cosmetic changes or any upgrades are not required to be made by seller.
  5. Sellers can offer you a credit instead of making the repairs themselves. If there is a tight closing or if a seller is elderly or unable to hire a contractor, sellers will often offer a credit. It is up to you if you want to accept, but sometimes taking care of the work post-closing can give buyers more control over their soon to be home, so it may be worth considering.

One final thought when thinking about your home inspection period: speak now, or forever hold your peace! The purpose of the home inspection period is to reveal any final issues before closing. If you are uncomfortable with any results or want any further inspections you need to  If you wait and try and bring up any issues later, the contract doesn’t protect you in the same way. Reach out to us here at Bergmann Law and we can help you through the process so when you finally do toast to your new home, you can be confident with your purchase.