Home inspections can make or break the purchase or sale of your home. Whether you’re buying or selling, the process will impact the outcome. Here are some things to include on your due diligence list.
1. Louisiana’s Residential Agreement to Buy or Sell
In Louisiana, all licensed real estate agents are required to use a standard purchase agreement. That agreement includes provisions for homebuyer inspections. And, unless agreed to otherwise, the buyer can cancel the agreement during the inspection period if they are not satisfied with the property. It’s one of the many reasons why the home inspection process is so important.
2. Hire a Licensed Home Inspector
Whether you are buying new construction or an existing home, I recommend that every homebuyer have their home inspected by a licensed home inspector. If you’re selling your home, you may want to consider getting it inspected before it’s listed so you can address repair items in advance. Minimum inspection standards are specified by the Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors and include the interior and exterior of the home; major systems such as heating, air condition, and plumbing; and, appliances. The home inspector will provide you with a detailed report of his or her findings, recommend additional input from licensed electricians, plumbers, or contractors if warranted, and provide suggestions on routine maintenance or areas requiring monitoring in the future. The cost of a home inspection typically varies with the size of the home, the type of foundation (e.g., pier and beam vs. slab foundation), and the number of heating and air conditioning systems. In Baton Rouge, the cost of a home inspection is typically between $300 and $600.
3. Look for Wood Destroying Insects
During the Inspection Period During the inspection period I also recommend that all homes be inspected for termites or other wood destroying insects. These pests are part of daily life in Louisiana and are a common occurrence. Depending on the lender and the type of loan, you may also be required to provide a Wood Destroying Insect Report indicating that the home either does not have an active infestation or that the home has been treated by a licensed pest control company. Unless stated otherwise in the purchase agreement, the cost of a termite inspection is the responsibility of the buyer. These typically cost between $60 and $125.
4. Check the FEMA Flood Maps
During the inspection period you should check to see if the home is in an area where lenders require flood insurance. The Board of Realtors provides Realtors with the latest flood map overlaps on the mapping tools made available to us in our Multiple Listing Service. But, it is always a good idea to check with your lender and insurance agent. If flood insurance is required, you may be required to have a flood elevation survey conducted. The cost of the survey typically runs between $250 and $400. The cost of the insurance varies with the value of the home, foundation elevation, and the type of coverage. As flood insurance ads to the monthly cost of home ownership, you will also want to check with your insurance agent on the types and cost of coverage.
5. Other Surveys
Most homebuyers do not have a property survey conducted; it is not required by most lenders. However, there are times when a survey is good idea particularly if there are questions about the ownership of fences, shared driveways, or servitudes. Here, too, the cost typically runs between $250 and $400 but can vary greatly based on the size of the property.
As your agent I look forward to helping you with this process as well as the many details that are part of a successful purchase or sale.