Home inspections: are they required and, if not, how necessary are they?
Homebuyers are often faced with a choice of whether to waive their right to a home inspection before closing on a deal. There are many factors that go into this decision, let’s lay out what should be considered.
Are home inspections required in Connecticut?
Generally speaking, there are no laws requiring that the buyer or seller complete a home inspection, and the vast majority of lenders do not require one.
Under Connecticut law, sellers are required to fill out and sign a seller disclosure form, which includes a list of yes-or-no questions about the condition of the property, with room for some elaboration. But this form should not be seen as a supplement to a home inspection conducted by a professional on-site, as it does not provide the same level of scrutiny and due diligence.
Should I perform a home inspection before closing on a purchase?
We strongly recommend buyers perform an inspection for a couple of reasons. The inspection is your one chance to uncover any issues with the home before closing. After closing, you will be stuck with whatever issues you’ve inherited. Needless to say, a home purchase is likely one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make, and you should know what you’re buying beforehand.
The home inspection is also your chance to ask for repairs or get reimbursed based on the inspection’s findings. In some cases, a seller will agree to make repairs before closing or issue a seller credit for major repairs.
In Connecticut specifically, it’s worth noting the state’s housing stock tends to be older than in other areas of the country, with a median age of owner-occupied housing stock at over 60 years. This makes an inspection all the more important to check for issues most commonly seen in older homes, such as foundational and structural issues and hazards such as asbestos and lead paint. (The aforementioned seller disclosure includes questions about some of these issues, but remember the seller is only answering to their best knowledge, and a “no” answer gives no guarantees that issues won’t be discovered later on.)
How much does a home inspection cost in Connecticut and who pays for it?
In Connecticut, home inspections typically cost between $400 to $500, higher than the national average of $350. The buyer almost always covers this cost.
With all the other costs and fees buyers have to pay before closing, it’s understandable why a buyer could have some pause. But the bottom line is that the cost of a home inspection will likely pale in comparison to the cost of fixing undetected issues after the purchase is final.
How long does a home inspection take?
In addition to the cost, the other deterrent some buyers see in performing an inspection is the time it can add to the closing process. Home inspections are customarily performed within 7-10 days after the buyer’s offer has been accepted, or whatever timeline the contract stipulates.
While the actual inspection itself usually only takes two to three hours, it’s possible issues found during the inspection can take time to repair. It’s also possible that the necessary professionals are not always immediately available to perform the repairs.
In our 25+ years of experience representing buyers in home transactions in Connecticut, the vast majority of them have performed a home inspection and for good reason. Purchasing a home is a major decision and investment, and the more information you can collect before making the decision, the better off you will be in the long run.
If you are getting ready to purchase a home and need an experienced attorney to guide you through the process, reach out to Pederson Real Estate Law for a free consultation. Attorney Charlene Pederson has over 25 years of experience representing clients in residential real estate transitions. We proudly serve clients in lower Fairfield County, including Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Norwalk, and Wilton.