When a home sells, it is common for the buyer to hire at least one inspector to examine the house that was just purchased. In the western suburbs of Chicago, it is typical for the inspection to be completed and issues to be raised within 5 business days of the acceptance of the real estate contract.
It is the inspector's job to identify all areas where he believes to home to be deficient. This includes recommendations for future maintenance. From a business pint of view, the home inspectors typically go a bit overboard on what they identify as deficiencies to cover themselves from a liability perspective.
Remember, the inspector has no specific knowledge of the local building code (it was be ridiculous to expect a Chicago inspector to know the individual codes in the dozens and dozens of Chicago suburbs in which he inspects). Moreover, the house inspector does not know which residential sales contract which the buyer and seller have used so the inspector cannot know how a deficiency is defined as a result.
For purposes of brevity, the most commonly used sales contract defines a deficiency as either something that is unsafe and/or it does not perform its intended function (like an air conditioner that does not cool or a door lock set that does not lock).
In some cases, the home buyer cites every deficiency that an inspector identifies on the home inspection report's deficiency list whether or not they conform to the definition of a deficiency on the residential sales contract. This is improper.Sometimes this is done as the buyer lacks knowledge. Other time sit is done as the buyer is simply greedy. In other cases, it is done as advised by the buyer's real estate attorney as a negotiation strategy.
It is my opinion that the inspection report deficiency list should be understood by the buyer. The buyer should then ask his real estate broker to comment on the list not as that buyer's advocate, but as the "real estate judge" so that home buyer can have his actual home inspection demand list has some sense of reasonableness. For example, I sell over 100 homes per year. My clients only buy or sell a home every 3 to 5 years. I know what is reasonable and common in a real estate transaction. They do not. So we need to collaborate so that the buyer can properly advise his attorney how to reply. And this type of proactive approach is what keeps stress levels to manageable levels during these transactions.
By Bryan Bomba