As the senior real estate lawyer at Dale Streiman Law LLP, I advise our clients on their purchases to retain a licensed home inspector, both for residential real estate purchases and for commercial real estate purchases. This is important to review the structural integrity of the building, whether there are any discoverable latent or other defects including roof, structure, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, drain, electrical and other systems. There have been many issues with lack of insulation, with mould present from water leakage and it may be possible but not guaranteed to find such issues with various infra-red cameras and other equipment by a qualified inspector. Some of these defects may not be detectable unless removal of drywall and other wall coverings are completed. However, in this day and age of illegal substances being present in residential homes, and the warranties that realtors insert that such building/home does not contain any such illegal substances, a qualified home inspector will examine the home to determine if the home was ever used or abused as a “marijuana grow operation” house. This is not such a rare discovery but there are tell-tale signs of such illegal operation in such a home being available to such qualified inspector.
For country and rural purchases, the following are required and if the home inspector does not have such qualifications, then our clients are urged to retain the proper inspection or engineering companies:
l. Water purification to ensure that the water is potable – such sample must be taken independently and not supplied by the Seller to avoid the sample not being from the home being purchased and such sample should be taken to the local city, township health department for examination and certificate issued or if the purchaser/client wishes to perform an independent laboratory for analysis and to obtain a certificate.
2. Well Driller’s Certification; this should be obtained to ensure that there is sufficient flow rate of the water to the home/buildings. The above will depend if this is a drilled as opposed to a dug well and there are ultra violet systems attached to the water delivery system to purify the water to the building. This must be checked as to its condition and warranty obtained.
3. Septic Tank Inspection: If possible, the original septic use permit approved by the city, town or township’s health or building department should be obtained and title insurance being placed on behalf of the purchaser(s) will over insure any issue with non-compliance(s) or work order(s) from such health and/or building departments. Notwithstanding the above, I still recommend a pump out of any septic tank, and discussion and report with the company servicing the septic system at that time and in the past as to the fitness of the system, and if there have been or are present any defects in the system. This will avoid any later lawsuit against the vendor for damages if such system is found to be defective.
4. Wood burning fireplace or other supply of heat, propane, oil: All such systems must be checked and wood burning fireplaces can be a fire hazard if chimney is unlined.
Any warranties by the seller of the property may not be enforced in court if the transaction closes and any defects that were discoverable by any inspection were found later. Caveat emptor maxim i.e. buyer beware may apply to bar any suit against the seller for defects and damages.
These issues must be reviewed if they arise with the solicitor acting at Dale Streiman Law LLP.