QDEAR BARRY: The people who are buying my house just had a home inspector invade my space, and you should see the crazy repair list they hit me with.
Just for samples, they want replacement of some moldings, the bathtub drain stopper, loose bathroom tiles and the window wells. Also, they want me to extend the bathroom vent from the attic to the exterior, and have the air conditioner checked.
They also want the house treated for termites, and it's only been five years since we killed those bugs.
Anyway, that's what they want done. Nothing major, just petty things. Is this normal today when you sell a home? -- Louis
ADEAR LOUIS: In most cases, sellers are not required to repair every defect that is listed in a home inspection report. In your case, some of the repair requests are reasonable, while others are somewhat nit-picking.
Minor items not worth haggling over include the loose moldings and the faulty drain stopper.
Items of greater importance are the bathroom exhaust fan that vents into the attic, a code violation, and having the air conditioner professionally serviced. It's better to discover a major air conditioning problem before the sale than after.
Negotiable conditions, those that may or may not be serious, include the defective window wells and loose tiles. You didn't mention what specifically is wrong with these. In each case, however, there is the potential for moisture damage, and this could be significant.
In most states, termite infestation is not included as part of a home inspection. Such conditions are typically evaluated by licensed pest control operators. And by the way, five years is more than enough time for termites to re-invade a home.
The main thing to keep in mind is that repair lists arising from home inspections can be viewed as requests, rather than demands. Except for repairs and upgrades required by law or specified in the purchase contract, all property defects are matters to be negotiated between buyers and sellers. All that is necessary is for all parties to be fair and reasonable. DEAR BARRY: We are buying a new house and have not decided whether we should hire a home inspector. If so, are there inspectors who specialize in inspection of new homes? -- Terry
DEAR TERRY: As I've written numerous times, it is critically important to have a new house inspected. It is an aspect of home buyer protection that cannot be overemphasized.
All new houses have defects. No exceptions. It just takes a qualified, experienced home inspector to identify the glitches. Once you have the report in hand, the builder makes the appropriate corrections.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no home inspectors who perform inspections exclusively on new homes. You just need to find an inspector with years of field experience and a reputation for thoroughness.
Barry Stone is a professional home inspector. If you have questions or comments, contact him through his Web site, at www.housedetective.com, or send mail to 1776 Jami Lee Ct., Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, Calif. 93401.
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