Tutorial Item 6
Subsequent to a price agreement, you will sign a purchase agreement, and move ahead with home inspections. The purchase agreement can take different forms, depending upon the legal custom of the town you are purchasing in. Connecticut has two different primary contract customs, with some additional variations. Both forms are equally legal in all towns, but custom differ.
If you are purchasing in Fairfield County CT (an occasionally in other areas), you will use the two-step contract custom. In this case, you will sign a binder (which is a very abbreviated contract), or a memorandum of sale (which is simply a statement of terms agreed upon by buyer and seller), as the first step. . The seller's attorney will then draw up a formal sales contract of about 15 pages, which will ultimately be signed by buyer and seller, usually within about ten days of reaching the price agreement. Prior to signing this second official contract, the buyer will conduct inspections.
If you are purchasing elsewhere in Connecticut, the one-step form contract custom applies. In this case the form contract is the official contract with no second contract to follow. However this contract specifically states a contingency period for inspections.
One source of local home inspectors is ASHI.COM the definitive web site of the home inspection industry. We will also recommend a few inspectors with who's work we have seen before. You will ask the inspector about the full range of services available. Most all buyers have a general home inspection and pest inspection. If you have a well you will also likely conduct a water portability test, and possibly a well performance test if suggested. If you have a septic system, it is important to have a septic inspection to review the condition and functionality of the septic system. It is also possible to test water for other contaminants which can result from lead solder used in older plumbing, and pesticides, which are sometimes a residue or historical farming use. Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless gas that can be present in air or water, and which can seep into a home from the earth below. It can find its way into your basement and living space through cracks and other openings such as plumbing and drains. It is considered to be a leading cause of lung cancer. If the Radon level in the basement is found to be above the level deemed official safe, a radon remediation system will need to be installed to reduce the radon to safe levels. This is typically very effective and sometimes negotiated as an expense of the seller. You may also opt to have an inspection to evaluate the home for the presence of lead paint.
These are some but not all of the issues you may choose to screen for.
Unless you are purchasing new construction, the new home will not be perfect, few homes are. Once the report is in hand, you will be in a position to evaluate what aspects you would require the seller to take responsibility for, and which you believe are to be expected. This is a situation of negotiation balance, because there is not absolute obligation on the part of the seller to fix these items. Typically a reasonable seller will take responsibility for some items, particularly if they do not want to lose the buyer (you retain the recourse of rejecting the home if an agreement cannot be reached). The main objective would be to have important safety items addressed prior to occupancy, and significant items not previously disclosed by the seller prior to reaching the price agreement.
Assuming an agreement has been reached regarding final responsibility for inspection related issues, and final financing commitment is in place, all parties will be awaiting closing. Prior to closing the home is visited by the buyer and buyer's agent to determine that everything is as it was expected. Any failure to live up to expectations is typically adjusted by negotiation between the parties and their attorneys at closing.