In North Carolina, our contracts are written to give the buyer an Inspection Period. We have labeled this the “Due Diligence Period” as this is your time to do due diligence on the home you are about to purchase. What does this include? EVERYTHING
Home Inspection – this is a MUST, as in, you are silly to purchase a home without having a mechanic look under the hood (so to speak). They will look at the electrical, HVAC, plumbing, structure and some cosmetics of the home. They may not tell you everything that is wrong (they can’t see behind drywall) but they can alert you to what needs further examination. For example, one transaction I was involved in had electrical that we thought had been updated but it turns out the entire second floor was still knob & tube wiring. On the home inspectors recommendation, we got a licensed electrician in for a second look and an estimate on repairs. Another time the foundation of a home was bowing in. A structural engineer took a look and told us how to set it right.
Pest Inspection – does the home have active termites? Post Beetles? Now is the time to find out
Radon Inspection – Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is thought to cause lung cancer. North Carolina has a lot of it. It’s everywhere, including the air you breathe as you walk out the door. The EPA has set a limit of 4 pCi/L for the amount of radon that is safe inside of your home. If it’s over that limit, it’s time to talk to the seller about mitigating.
Well Water – is the water contaminated? Here is your chance to find out
Septic Tanks & City Sewer – Is everything functioning? Septic’s should be pumped and inspected. City lines can be scoped for tree roots that would cause blockage
This is not a finite list. Every house has it’s own little peccadilloes that will require it’s own list of inspections. The more you know about the home you are purchasing, the better you will feel about the purchase. Plus, you may be able to request the seller make some of the repairs and take that burden off of you.
Due Diligence is not just for inspections. In North Carolina, it also includes the time it takes to secure the loan, get an appraisal, do title work, read over restrictions, review (or obtain) surveys and any other item concerning the purchase of the home. The Due Diligence Period is your time to get to know this home and get your ducks in a row for purchasing it. Take advantage of this time.
Funny for the day. This was found in the restrictions for a home built in 1912:
“the cost of which does not equal or exceed $5,000” – I’m not sure you can build an outhouse for that! Of course, the restriction is now expired and the wording is a bit ambiguous. Still pretty funny!