If I could wave a magic wand to make my job as a home inspector easier, I'd change the home inspection contingency form. Dig.
When someone buys a home in Minnesota, they typically include an addendum to their purchase agreement, called the Inspection Contingency. This is typically a one-page form that says the buyer wants a home inspection. It gives the buyer the option to cancel the purchase of a home without any penalties if they're not happy with the inspection results. I'm simplifying things a bit here, but that's the gist of it. The form is very basic but does have a spot for the seller to check a box to say whether or not they'll agree to allow the buyer to perform intrusive testing or inspections.
If I were in charge, there would be several more boxes on this form that the seller had to check. This would force the seller to actively acknowledge their responsibility to make their home accessible for home inspections. This home inspection checklist would look something like this:
Seller _DOES _DOES NOT agree to make the attic(s) and crawlspace(s) readily accessible for inspection.
Seller _DOES _DOES NOT agree to make the electrical panel(s) readily accessible for inspection.
Seller _DOES _DOES NOT agree to make all appliances readily accessible for inspection. This includes items such as the furnace, water heater, boiler, etc.
Seller _DOES _DOES NOT agree to make the garage readily accessible for inspection.
I believe that a tremendous amount of time and effort could be saved by having some simple language like this added to the home inspection contingency form that almost everyone in Minnesota uses. If the seller doesn't agree to anything, negotiations take place right there and then; not while the home inspector is at the house. Of course, the term "readily accessible" would need to be defined, and some cover-all statement added to make the rest of the house readily accessible. I'd copy the definition right out of the Home Inspection SOP Glossary created by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI):
Readily Accessible Available for visual inspection without requiring moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or actions that will likely involve risk to persons or property.
This has been the focus of my last two blog posts, which have simply been building up to this post.
- Dear Home Seller, please let me into your attic
- Four simple things for sellers to do before the home inspection
I've given this a lot of thought, and I really can't see any downside to this. Do you agree? Disagree? Please share your thoughts.