Why do I say inspect with purpose? When buying a Los Angeles home you should know that each transaction is different, that is why when you are in escrow on that home your inspections should be carried out in a well thought-out manner. If you don’t stay on top of the progression of escrow you can end up wasting money.
During the course of escrow you will be doing your due diligence: conducting inspections, reviewing disclosures, checking permits, etc. Then comes the appraisal, which you the buyer will be paying for. Often, the ordering of the appraisal takes time, which, if it doesn’t take too long can be a good thing. You don’t want to pay for an appraisal for no reason. Why would this happen? Well, it shouldn’t, but if you are not paying attention it very well could and this is how to avoid it:
Shorten your inspection contingency period. The standard on a California purchase contract is 17 days. Drop it to seven days. Five days would be even better. If you are reasonably comfortable with the basic home inspection you may want to inspect further, like foundation, sewer, chimney, electrical, plumbing, etc. It can all be done within five to seven days. Also, checking permits if there is anything questionable about the structure is a good idea. But one caveat here. Since the home inspection is of a general nature, the report almost always recommends that you investigate the above items further. This is more money you may or may not want to spend.
Make sure you receive all the seller disclosures to look over in good time. (This becomes somewhat problematic when buying a condo because the selling side has little control over the management company acting in a timely manner. However, you most likely will not be doing most of the inspections you would for a single family residence.)
Each step should be based on the previous one. If the home inspection produces a nightmare report, do you really want to spend the extra money on the next inspection?
You may decide you can live with the inspection reports if the seller is willing to repair the problems or credit you for the work. This will be negotiated through the Request for Repairs. The seller may agree or counter. You may agree, counter back, or decide not to continue.
All the while the clock is ticking and the appraiser might be scheduled, adding to a cost you may not want to incur. Communicate with your lender so that he or she knows not to order the appraisal until you are sure you want to go ahead with the purchase. It hurts a little having paid for the appraisal when you have backed out of the deal for something else.
So, when you are in escrow on a Los Angeles home, inspect with purpose.
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