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Escrow Inspections and Appraisals

Inspections and Appraisals

Most buyers will have the property inspected by a licensed property inspector within the time frame that was agreed upon in the effective contract to purchase. Some buyers will have several different inspectors inspect the property, if they wish to obtain professional opinions from inspectors who specialize in a specific area (eg. roof, HVAC, structure). If the agreement is conditional upon financing, then the property will be appraised by a licensed appraiser to determine the value for the lending institution via third party. This is done so that the lending institution can confirm their investment in your property is accurate. A buyer of a commercial property may also have a complete environmental audit performed and/or soil test, if required by the lending institution.

The Closing Agent.

Either a title company or an attorney will be selected as the closing agent, whose job is to examine and insure clear title to real estate. After researching the complete recorded history of your property, they will certify that 1) your title is free and clear of encumbrances (eg. mortgages, leases, or restrictions, liens) by the date of closing; and 2) all new encumbrances are duly included in the title.

Due Diligence/Contigencies.

A contingency is a condition that must be met before a contract becomes legally binding. For instance, a buyer will usually include a contingency stating that their contract is binding only when there is a satisfactory home inspection report from a qualified inspector.

Before completing his or her purchase of your property, the buyer goes over every aspect of the property, as provided for by purchase agreements and any applicable addendums. These include:

  • Obtaining financing.
  • Inspections: Inspections to determine the condition of any improvements on the Property, the presence of unusual drainage conditions or evidence of excessive moisture adversely affecting any improvements on the Property, the presence of asbestos or existing environmental contamination, evidence of wood-destroying insects or damage therefrom, and the presence and level of radon gas on the Property.
  • Review of Documents: Review of the Declaration of Restrictive Covenants, Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, Rules and Regulations, and other governing documents of any applicable owners’ association and/or subdivision. If the Property is subject to regulation by an owners’ association, it is recommended that Buyer review the completed Residential Property and Owners’ Association Disclosure Statement provided by Seller prior to signing this offer. It is also recommended that the Buyer determine if the owners’ association or its management company charges fees for providing information required by Buyer’s lender or confirming restrictive covenant compliance.
  • Insurance: Investigation of the availability and cost of insurance for the Property.
  • Appraisals: An appraisal of the Property.
  • Survey: A survey to determine whether the property is suitable for Buyer’s intended use and the location of easements, setbacks, property boundaries and other issues which may or may not constitute title defects.
  • Zoning and Governmental Regulation: Investigation of current or proposed zoning or other governmental regulation that may affect Buyer’s intended use of the Property, adjacent land uses, planned or proposed road construction, and school attendance zones.
  • Flood Hazard: Investigation of potential flood hazards on the Property, and/or any requirement to purchase flood insurance in order to obtain the Loan.
  • Utilities and Access: Availability, quality, and obligations for maintenance of utilities including water, sewer, electric, gas, communication services, stormwater management, and means of access to the Property and amenities.
  • Streets/Roads: Investigation of the status of the street/road upon which the Property fronts as well as any other street/road used to access the Property, including: (1) whether any street(s)/road(s) are public or private, (2) whether any street(s)/road(s) designated as public are accepted for maintenance by the State of NC or any municipality, or (3) if private or not accepted for public maintenance, the consequences and responsibility for maintenance and the existence, terms and funding of any maintenance agreements.
  • Fuel Tank: Inspections to determine the existence, type and ownership of any fuel tank located on the Property.

Depending on the outcome of these inspections, one of two things may happen:

1. Either each milestone is successfully closed and the contingencies will be removed, bringing you one step closer to the closing; or

2. The buyer, after reviewing the property and the papers, requests a renegotiation of the terms of contract (usually the price).

How do you respond objectively and fairly to the buyer when a renegotiation is demanded, while acting in your best interests? This is when a professional listing agent can make a real difference in the outcome of the transaction. Having dealt with various property sales in the past, we guarantee our expertise and total commitment to every customer, no matter what their situation is.

Loan Approval and Appraisal.

We suggest that you accept buyers who have a lender’s pre-approval, approval letter, or written loan commitment, which is a better guarantee of loan approval than a pre-qualification or no documentation from a lending institute. Expect an appraiser from the lender’s company to review your property and verify that the sales price is appropriate.