Can a Bad Home Inspection Break a Real Estate Deal?

November 11, 2021

If a home inspection is not as expected, that does not necessarily mean that the entire purchase/sale process falls apart.

The house buying process in New Jersey is an exciting (and possibly stressful) time. Once you have your eyes set on your dream home and you’ve made an offer based on what you’ve seen, you can get attached to an exterior vision that doesn’t quite match the interior reality. For that reason, once the contract for the sale has been reviewed and the 3-day attorney review process has been confirmed on both sides, resulting in mutual agreement that the buyers and sellers are happy with the deal as it stands, there is an essential 10-15 day window during which a home inspector hired by the buyer reviews the house.

At this point, the contracts have been signed; there are still a number of loose ends that leave the contract available for cancellation. If the home inspector finds issues with the house, the buyers can request that the sellers make repairs according to these findings – or reduce the price of the house to reflect the cost of repairs that the buyers will have to undergo. If the sellers do not agree, the buyers can cancel the contract before the deal is closed. Read on and watch the video below to learn more about the home inspection process and what to do if the home inspector finds issues that need to be addressed.

What Happens if Your Home Inspection goes Badly?

A home inspector is responsible for reviewing the nitty-gritty details that constitute the house’s innards, those details that are likely not seen when a potential buyer visits the home. Those essential elements of the house include whether the home is up to the standards of current municipal building codes, the state of the plumbing system, wear and tear on the roofing, the efficiency and effectiveness of heating and cooling systems, and the safety of electrical outlets and the electrical appliances being offered with the house.

Home inspectors find many cases in which what is offered at the superficial level, the level that the buyer sees, is not actually the level of quality the house offers. One example of this is a house that has been bought by someone to be refurbished and sold. These houses are often bought in poor shape as fixer-uppers, remodeled, and then sold. Because many of these houses are bought as-is, they have issues down to the foundation that no remodeling process will address. Even a house that was not sold after a remodel but, perhaps, was a family home may need sufficient updates after regular wear and tear of living. Home inspectors recognize that such elements of a house as external surfaces, flooring, roofing and porches or patios that have experienced the effects of many harsh New Jersey winters need to be updated every few decades; so even a relatively new home may face some unexpected maintenance requirements.

What Types of Fixes are Mandatory After an NJ Home Inspection?

There are a few maintenance issues that the seller is required to fix after a home inspection. These include mold and any water damage to a house, chemical hazards, electrical hazards that could cause a fire or explosion, pest infestation, elements of the floor plan that create a trip-and-fall hazard, and obviously any building code violations.

Other issues that a home inspector finds and recommends be addressed are up to the buyer and seller to negotiate.

What Should I Ask the Seller to Fix After the Inspection?

Can a Bad Inspection can Break a Real Estate Deal in NJ?As noted above, there are some fixes the seller is required to address. It is worth your while to approach the buyer about all elements requiring work that the home inspector finds. The seller may agree to hire a contractor themselves to address the issues, or they may provide a credit to you, which you can use to undergo the appropriate maintenance after the deal has closed. This, however, takes place in the realm of non-required fixes, and as such, it is essential to have a skilled real estate attorney on your side to help with negotiations.

What Happens if the Seller Does not Want to Fix the Issues?

If the seller does not wish to address non-essential maintenance issues, the buyer can cancel the contract. Again, a skilled real estate attorney will offer invaluable support in this process.

Can a Contract be Canceled After a Failed Inspection Process in NJ?

Though the contract has been signed by both parties, has been reviewed during the three-day attorney review process, and has officially been accepted, a buyer may cancel the contract if they are not satisfied with the home inspection results and resulting maintenance negotiation process.

Contact our Real Estate Attorneys for a Free-Initial Consultation in our Monmouth County Law Office

A qualified and experienced real estate attorney is an essential ally during the process of buying a home, from start to finish. Are you looking for your dream home, and you want to ensure it’s a dream come true all the way through? Want an experienced lawyer backing you up? At The Law Office of Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, we understand the importance of ensuring that you get what you pay for on the buyer’s side and if you’re the seller, that you get what you deserve. We successfully handle real estate matters for clients in Wall, Long Branch, Red Bank, Freehold, Middletown, Little Silver, Monmouth Beach, Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore as a whole, to ensure that they are safe, sound, and ready to make memories in a quality home, whether it be the home they are purchasing with our help, or they need to sell their current house in order to find their next nesting place.

Contact our office in West Long Branch at (732) 440-3950 for a free consultation to discuss your home-buying or selling journey.

Categorised in: Real Estate Law