Should buyers inspect septic tanks? When making a home purchase, many rural areas do not have public sewer service. In these cases, a septic tank is used, and it is buried under the ground usually down a foot or two. These tanks are recommended to be pumped out 3-5 years, depending on with whom you speak. The more people, the more flushes, the more laundry, the more showers. If you start having a back up, call your septic service quick.
During a buyer’s inspection period, buyers are afforded an opportunity to inspect the septic system. There are many types of systems such as an engineered dosing systems, and most often in Sacramento County you will see leech lines running from the septic.
Selling real estate in the Wild Wild West reminds we of the old John Wayne movies. He usually played a big-hearted, honest human being (I relate.) Then he always had other people in the films, which were much like authentic characters from the Wild Wild West, who had little moral or ethical code. Sometimes, selling real estate in the south county feels like working in the Wild Wild West.
I love the rural atmosphere of South Sacramento County. There are open green fields of tall grass. You see horses and cows grazing as you drive along the county roads. Large Oak trees are covering the lands here. Beautiful creeks bubble through the valleys and the Consumnes River roars through every winter, and we hope she doesn’t flood. It is like a picture book from the good old days.
A seller just had his escrow cancel due to dangers of home buying sight unseen. All because the buyer’s agent had not disclosed to the seller the fact that both of the decision makers had not viewed the home prior to submitting the offer. Which tends to happen when there are unscrupulous or ignorant agents (hard to say which description applies) who believe it is OK to deceive the seller and the listing agent.
Deceiving a seller is unethical and could be considered against the law due to possible breach of contract elements.
In my pending sales at the moment, it seems that many right now involve buyer due diligence. Yet another sign we are on the tail-end of the seller’s market. Normal transactions over the past 5 to 7 years have not really involved a lot of buyer due diligence. Seems buyers were so excited and thrilled to be given the opportunity to buy a home, they skimmed through the seller disclosures. They also waived inspections, sometimes submitting offers with an inspection contingency release upfront.
Not today. Nope, now buyers are very involved with buyer due diligence. As a seller, you want to give the buyer all the time the buyer needs to release contingencies. You never want to be accused of obstructing buyer due diligence, no siree. However, some of the questions we’ve received have been very detailed. So detailed an agent can’t tell if the buyer wants to move forward with the sale or if the buyer wrongly believes she needs a good reason to cancel.
During inspection periods, buyers can cancel without giving a reason. That’s a fact few buyers really understand. However, buyers have a responsibility to themselves to conduct every desired inspection and ask every pertinent question during their due diligence period. Agents cannot perform this task for them. They must do it themselves. They can cancel for any reason during the inspection period. The reason does need to be specific.
In fact, sometimes it is better not to give a reason. Without a reason, the seller will find it difficult to sue — not that the seller has a right to sue. People don’t always file lawsuits because they have a legal right. They file lawsuits often due to emotional misunderstandings. Rather than saying, let’s work this out, some people prefer to hastily blurt: I’ll see ya in court, buddy. But you already knew there are a lot of idiots in the world.
As a buyer’s agent, it is important to follow the estimated timeline of a transaction. Agents, line up all buyer inspections as early as possible. Because a general home inspection might suggest other inspections. Buyers, talk to your agent about those “other inspections” because it might be a case of a home inspector covering his or her own butt. Not necessarily a necessity.
Inspections are for the buyer to gain a thorough understanding of the condition of the home. It is not to renegotiate with the seller or ask for a credit. It is very rare in my listings that sellers ever get stuck with repairs, price reductions or credits. But I also know this is not true of other listing agents; many insist their sellers cave in just to “hold the deal together.”
Throughout our strong seller’s market in Sacramento, I have been pretty much a bull dog about no repairs. However, with the amount of buyer due diligence happening in our present market, I have a feeling the tide is changing on that, too.
When Sacramento home inspectors note petty items in reports, it is not their fault. The purpose of the inspection is thoroughness. They are also not trying to upset home sellers, but they often do. I don’t know why they can’t send home inspectors to an English class to learn ways to present findings in an easy-to-understand manner. Some just grunt and don’t write any words. They instead check boxes. The horrible boxes are always a scary red, too. Meant to instill fear in the heart of any buyer reading it.
The fact is Sacramento home inspectors are looking for a defect or something unusual to describe. In part, because that’s their freakin’ job. Also, in part, because if they don’t find something wrong, it’s bad. It’s bad because the buyer will think she a) wasted her money or b) the inspector isn’t doing a good job.
So, they try to be very thorough. If the only thing Sacramento home inspectors can find is a burned out lightbulb, that’s what he or she will report. Maybe a crack in the sidewalk. If they can’t figure out why the furnace won’t turn on, they will recommend further investigation. Sometimes, a home inspector recommends further investigation for, say, a gas fireplace, when there is nothing wrong. The problem is all inspectors don’t necessarily know how every gas fireplace works. Why should they? It’s not their house.
I actually don’t understand why most home buyers hire a home inspector to look at visible things they can see with their own eyes. One would think buyers would be more concerned about hiring a roof inspector to check out the roof, an HVAC specialist, a plumber, and maybe an electrician to check out the house wiring. Those people are specialists, not to mention, ahem, licensed.
Sacramento home inspectors are not licensed as a requirement. There is no licensing division for home inspections. There is little reason to get upset when an inspector reports minor issues. Rejoice. Nothing serious is wrong. It’s just a disclosure. Not a death sentence.
But most buyers don’t want to pay the big bucks and they’d rather pay some rogue general home inspector they found online to inspect what is about to become the biggest investment of their life. At the very least, a buyer should get a good referral from his or her agent.