By Meredith Caruso

June 19, 2017 – When a buyer and seller reach an agreement on a property, all Florida Realtors’ residential contracts contain language regarding the buyer’s ability to conduct an inspection. Most Realtors understand that this includes a general inspection on the property, but it’s important to note that there are other types of inspections a buyer may want, either to confirm the property is right for them or based on a recommendation by their general inspector.

What are the other types of inspections? And why can’t that lone general inspector the buyer chose inspect everything the buyer needs to know about?

  • Wood destroying organism (“WDO”) inspection. A general inspector may provide some insight on the presence of WDOs, but they may not be qualified to determine if there’s a live infestation or, whether present or past, the extent of any damage.

    Many times, a general inspector will say that he’s seen “evidence of WDOs” and then recommend that a pest professional look into the matter.
  • Permit inspection. This usually involves a phone call or visit to your county and/or city permitting office to see if there are any open or expired permits on the property. Is the seller promoting renovations to the property? If so, the buyer can also verify if required permits were pulled or not.

Important to remember: Depending on the type of contract used, a seller’s obligation to repair an item may depend on the buyer notifying the seller within a certain timeframe. If notification comes later, it waives the seller’s obligation to fix it – and the discovery of an open or expired permit often occurs after that deadline without assertive action earlier.

Even if buyers only plan a general inspection, it’s important to have it done as early as possible and to verify the scope of the inspection. If the general inspector discovers a problem that warrants additional inspections, a buyer should be able to schedule it before the contract’s inspection deadline.

Meredith Caruso is Manager of Member Legal Communications for Florida Realtors

© 2017 Florida Realtors