What you need to know about home inspections here in Alabama.

Today I’m excited to talk about home inspections and answer the question, “Do I really need to get a home inspection?”

Unlike many other U.S. states where sellers provide property disclosures to a purchaser, Alabama law dictates a rule known as “caveat emptor” for the sale of residential property. “Caveat emptor” is Latin for “let the buyer beware,” which means that the seller has no legal duty to advise the buyer of issues with the property’s physical condition during the sale.

Alabama law states that a seller or seller’s agent must disclose information about existing real estate in only three specific scenarios:

  1. Defects affecting health and safety
  2. Latent defects
  3. Upon specific inquiry by the buyer

The main reason to hire a home inspector is to identify defects within specific accessible areas of a house. If issues go unnoticed before the sale goes through, you might pay thousands of dollars to fix them later. Generally, a home inspection reports the condition of the following:

  • Structural condition and basement
  • Electrical, plumbing, water heating, and HVAC equipment
  • Quality, age, and condition of major systems
  • General interior, including ceilings, floors, windows, insulation, and ventilation
  • Kitchen and appliances
  • General exterior including roof, gutters, chimney, landscaping, grading, and drainage

“The seller has no legal duty to advise the buyer of issues with the property.”

Having a home inspection limits your chances of moving into a house with unknown safety issues or structural flaws. Keep in mind that a home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist. It reveals only those defects observed on the date of the inspection.

I often receive questions about inspections on new construction homes, such as, “There’s already a builder’s warranty; do I really need one?” An inspection can still provide key insights into the home’s construction, as well as a chance to prevent costly repairs later.

Remember that even brand-new and manufactured homes have flaws. Home inspections in our area range in cost from $375 to $500 and take anywhere from two to four hours depending on the size of the property. I would say that’s an inexpensive cost overall to have your home checked out, and it could save you thousands of dollars in repairs that you otherwise would not know exist.

I hope this blog post helped answer some of your common inspection questions. If you have any further questions for me about home inspections or real estate in general, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.