Then here comes the buyer, in which many times a person or a family will get the idea that they want to buy a home. They start pulling up homes on the internet, calling on signs in people’s yards and going to open houses, all because of the excitement and it is very exciting to be a homeowner. However, many of them don’t even know if one, they can even get a loan and two how much they really can afford in purchasing a home. But even if you as the buyer get past all of the first steps and hurdles of knowing what you want in a home and how much you can afford in a home, do you know there are more responsibilities that require your attention? The State of Georgia is a “Buyer Beware” State ~ the rule in Georgia is Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). It is a law that puts responsibility on the buyer to learn of any defects of the home. But WAIT!!! It doesn’t stop there; a buyer is also responsible to make sure the neighborhood checks out according to a place you & your family want to live. Let’s look at the 2013 Purchase and Sale Agreement used by the Georgia Association of Realtors.
On page 3 section 8 Inspection: A. Right to Inspect Property: Buyer and/or Buyer’s representatives shall have the right to enter the Property at Buyer’s expense and at reasonable times (including immediately prior to closing) to inspect, examine, test, appraise and survey Property. Seller shall cause all utilities, systems and equipment to be on so that Buyer may complete all inspections. Buyer agrees to hold Seller and all Brokers harmless from all claims, injuries and damages relating to the exercise of these rights. B. Duty to Inspect Neighborhood: In every neighborhood there are conditions which different buyers may find objectionable. Buyer shall have the sole duty to become familiar with neighborhood conditions that could affect the Property such as landfills, quarries, power lines, airports, cemeteries, prisons, stadiums, odor and noise producing activities, crime and school, land use, government and transportation maps and plans. It shall be Buyer’s Sole duty to become familiar with neighborhood conditions of concern to Buyer. (THEN IN BIG BOLD PRINT) If Buyer is concerned about the possibility of a registered sex offender residing in a neighborhood in which Buyer is interested, Buyer should review the Georgia Violent Sex Offender Registry available on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Website at http://www.gbi.georgia.gov.
Goodness gracious that is a lot of responsibility. Where would a buyer start? Of course working with a Realtor is a great place but that is just for guidance and recommendations. Remember in the contract it clearly states the “buyer’s sole duty”. Let’s look at 2013 Purchase and Sale Agreement used by the Georgia Association of Realtors on page 4 and section 12. Disclaimer. Buyer and Seller have not relied upon any advice or representations of Brokers other than what is included in this Agreement. Brokers shall have no duty to advise Buyer and Seller on any matter relating to the Property which could have been revealed through a survey, title search, Official Georgia Wood Infestation Report, inspection by a professional home inspector or construction expert, utility bill review, an appraisal, inspection by an environmental engineering inspector, consulting governmental officials or a review of this Agreement and transaction by an attorney, financial planner, mortgage consultant or tax planner. Buyer and Seller should seek independent expert advice regarding any matter of concern to them relative to the Property and this Agreement. Whew!
Since Georgia is a “Buyer Beware” state it is extremely important you look into hiring the right Home Inspector (along with any other professional) for the job, especially since Home Inspectors are not regulated in the State of Georgia. This is, in most cases the largest amount of money one will spend in a purchase, so do your homework. According to the Georgia Real Estate Commission website, In the 1990s Georgia’s legislature considered creating a regulatory board for home inspectors. Before the Legislature can create a licensing board, Georgia’s “Sun Rise Law” requires proof that both (1) a need for a regulatory board exists and (2) the trade or profession can reasonably pay the cost of regulation. The Legislative committee considering regulating home inspectors found that neither standard was met. Since structural engineers already must hold a professional license, inspectors must have liability insurance, and aggrieved parties can bring civil court actions, existing regulation was adequate. Because of the relatively small number of inspectors, licensing fees for a new regulatory board would be prohibitively high.
Clearly your choice in a Home Inspector must be considered wisely. Your researching of a Home Inspector is not only online, but, with the BBB or friends & family who have worked with Home Inspectors in the past. Realtors who have worked with previous Home Inspectors usually have a good recommendation as well, however, again be sure to look at the home inspectors qualifications, the responsibility is yours. Home Inspection doesn’t stop with the general home inspector. If the home inspector finds something of concern you will want to hire another inspector in that specific special field to correctly identify and determine the problem. This can include but not limited to Mold, Radon, asbestos, lead base paint, plumbing issues, foundation issues and many more as every home is different. According to the Georgia Real Estate Commission Website here are a few questions that might help you in your search for a home inspector or when getting recommendations from other’s about a home inspector: Evaluate the qualifications of inspectors ~ Do they thoroughly examine the property (to the extent of their assignment)? Do they provide a written report listing their findings? What limits do they place on liability for their own negligence? Do they carry liability or errors and omissions insurance? What is their experience and training? How current are their inspection techniques and equipment? What do their references say about them? Do they encourage the client and licensee to attend an inspection?
Good Luck in the home buying and home inspection process. BUYER BEWARE can be very scary, especially without a professional guidance but with a Realtor in your area the fear can be minimal.
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