North Carolina is a “buyer beware” state, which means closing on a property is acceptance of it in its “as is” condition. However, the NC contract is structured to allow a buyer to terminate the contract for any or no reason during the due diligence period.
Once a buyer and seller are officially under contract, the due diligence period begins. This is the agreed upon timeframe during which the buyer can conduct any inspections they find necessary to help decide whether to move forward with the purchase. This usually starts with a general home inspection by a licensed inspector who will check out the condition of the home, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, doors, windows, all mechanical systems, signs of pests, and testing radon gas levels. The inspector will check in the attic and in the basement or crawl space, and look for any signs of structural issues, taking pictures to document their findings, and put everything into a very detailed, categorized report. Sometimes items contained in an inspection report are minor, yet some may prompt a recommendation for having a specialized professional take a better look, like a roofer or a structural engineer.
Most people are not familiar with inspection reports and can often be taken aback by receiving a 40 to 80-page laundry list of potential concerns. While it’s nice to know everything, it is typically helpful to focus on hazard or safety issues, like plumbing or roof leaks, electrical hazards, high radon levels, deck, or structural problems, etc. If the initial inspection items seem manageable, we will recommend further inspections of the septic system and well, when applicable.
When all reports are available, we review and discuss the results with our buyer, confirming & help with prioritizing their concerns. The buyer may be okay with everything as is, or they can have us present the sellers with a “Due Diligence Repair Request,” or propose a monetary concession in lieu of repairs to be applied at closing.
Sellers are not obligated to agree to make any requested repairs, but most often they will be agreeable to addressing legitimate issues to keep the transaction moving forward. We will typically recommend to our sellers they do so, depending upon the circumstances and costs involved.
If a buyer finds the issues are beyond their comfort level, they may terminate the contract before the due diligence period expires and be entitled to a refund of their earnest money deposit if any.
Either way, any defects that are brought to light become material facts and must be disclosed to future interested parties by real estate agents, regardless of which side they represent. The inspections are a critical part of the sale process to help ensure everyone is informed and ultimately pleased with their decisions.
Wes & Cathy Cleary of Team Cleary Real Estate, Inc. are experienced Realtors® who work full-time as a full-service Real Estate team serving NC/SC. They have invested, rented, bought, and sold real estate in the Carolinas since 1997. Lake Lure’s #1 Team since 2018. Lake Lure homeowners since 2002. TeamClearyWNC@gmail.com; Wes 828-785-2115; 828-808-6790 Cathy; www.TeamCleary.com.