When you purchase a home in Arizona, your 10-day due diligence period begins the day after you have a real estate purchase contract signed by buyer and seller and all parties are in agreement to move forward on the deal. You are given this 10-day time frame as your opportunity to research all aspects of the property to determine whether you truly want to complete the purchase. The time frame differs from state to state.
A comprehensive guide to help you be aware of what items to consider during your inspection period are included in the Arizona Buyer Advisory. Remember, this due diligence period is also your time to review ALL important aspects about the property, including the neighborhood, schools, HOA rules & regulations, property details, location … really any and all things you deem important to you to help you decide if you really want this home.
One of the first things you will want to do after you go under contract is schedule a home inspection quickly, at least sooner than later. That way, if the inspector recommends a more thorough review by a specialized contractor, you have time to schedule that. This should be done by a licensed home inspector…not a family member or friend who happens to be handy. The inspector’s credibility is critical in order to for your real estate professional to successfully negotiate any repair requests for you. Certified inspectors are trained professionals and do a review of systems and structural items throughout the property. If you need recommendations, I can share a list of ones I trust and my clients have used but you are under no obligation to use them and should always still do your own due diligence before hiring one. Rates are based on square footage and runs about $350-500. Payment is expected prior to the appointment or can be paid to the inspector on the spot. In Arizona, it is common for buyers to get a termite inspection done as well. Expect to pay between $40-60 and it can be ordered through the inspection company. Termites are common in Arizona but not a reason for fear. There is a saying here, “it’s not if, it’s when a house gets termites”. Not to worry though, the situation can be remedied with treatment. It would be a cause of concern if the home has had a long history of termite intrusions or there is extensive damage. If it is discovered during an inspection, sellers are usually willing to resolve the issue as the existence of termites must be disclosed to the next buyer.
I always recommend getting a professional home inspection done for ALL types of homes. You may also decide you want other types of inspections depending on the type of property you are buying. Regardless of whether a seller had an inspection done, you should hire your own inspector and not rely on the report done on behalf of a seller or from a previous buyer. Even newly constructed homes should be inspected but for liability reasons, often builders do not allow inspections during the early phases until completion. Reputable builders should allow at least one inspection prior to the final walkthrough.
Make every effort to attend the client summary portion after the inspection. The inspector will do a run through of the notable issues of concern with you. Your agent should also try to be there but its best to make it your mission to be present. The inspector should always be willing answer your questions about the report. Some inspectors can even recommend good contractors for estimates on repairs.
Fair warning: Inspection reports can sometimes scare the daylights out of buyers. It is an inspector’s job to point out defects with a home, even the minor ones. It protects them as well so that buyers don’t come back to them about something they may have overlooked. Bottom line, things are rarely as bad as an inspection report makes it sound. So when you read through yours, don’t be alarmed. I have also seen some that come back with very few items noted and at times, buyers choose not to ask for the seller to make any repairs if the overall report has minor issues.
Your agent will give you some guidance on what you should ask to be repaired—and what you might want to let slide—once you receive a copy of the report. I encourage you to focus on major items in most cases, like roof, HVAC, foundation, structural, plumbing or electrical. But the home inspection is not meant to be used to ask for every little repair on the report to be fixed. Think of those as future fix-it projects. But if you discover there are too many expensive repairs needed then you might need to decide that the home is not for you. If that should happen, promptly inform your agent. They will have to submit a cancellation form on your behalf citing your reason before the 10-day period expires so you can receive your earnest money back. More often than not, however, the repair list is reasonable, repairs can be successfully negotiated, and buyers are able get past this period in a relatively smooth fashion.
All of this information and more about the home buying process is included in my Buyer Guide. Contact me to get a copy emailed to you right away.