Ask Andrew: Legalities Of Home Inspections?

Question from Jeremy Poarch (jproch@rocketmail.com) –

What are the legalities of home inspections?

Andrew’s answer:

No doubt, home inspections are an important and necessary part of the home buying process. This is provided for in the context of the pre-sale due diligence as covered in the 1987 Real Estate Provisions clause (which was also applicable to the Tax Reform Act of 1986). Additionally, take note of the case of lay assessors and their impact on the inspection process.

No home buying process is ever complete without any form of inspection and it is in fact part and parcel of most, if not all, buyer contingencies. Depending on the consequences of the home sale or whatever has been agreed on between home seller and buyer, different types of inspection can and should be done to a house.

There is hardly a single inspection that does it all. One home inspector who finds a fault, say in the air conditioning system of the house, will only do so much as refer the home buyer to an expert in this field. And with so many components to the house that needs inspecting, the information can be overwhelming especially to any first time buyer.

I am not a realtor, but from my online research (particularly at PropertyReviews.my which I recommend highly), here’s a list of home inspections that you can do for your house:

  • Soil stability. As its name suggests, soil stability inspection are dedicated to finding out the stability and credibility of the land that your new house stands on.  This is especially important if you live close to a river where soil tends to get soft during the rainy season, and if you live on a hill where erosion and landslides can occur. They can also inspect for contamination in the soil.
  • Electric. The electrical structure of your Malaysian house is not only necessary, it can also be dangerous. That is why you have to have its credibility inspected before moving in. The last thing you want is to live in a house that’s in essence a living time bomb where a fire can occur just about anytime due to faulty electrical setup. You can’t risk your family’s life for that.
  • Chemical inspection. The house can be laden with unseen chemicals in the air that are either fire hazards or are toxic. These chemicals come mostly from the materials on the house as well as on the different equipment. Be on guard and get inspected for traces of radon, asbestos formaldehyde, and methane and get it eliminated before moving in.
  • Mold. The presence of mold in the house can trigger allergies or cause worse health problems that why you should have your air and exhaust systems completely inspected for the smallest traces of these microscopic beings.
  • Water and Plumbing Systems. As simple as it may seem, the water and plumbing system existing in the house can be very complex and the slightest problem unnoticed can cause you bigger problems. It can range from extra costs on your water bill to something as bad as water contamination so always look for a complete inspection in this area.
  • Sewer and septic tank system. Waste management is a crucial part of any house so yours should have a proper and well-maintained system that would not compromise your family’s health in the long run.
  • Foundation and roofing. The general stability and condition of the house is best tested on the stability of its foundation and its roofing. You can tear down the walls and replace them anytime but the foundation is a totally different thing.
  • Zoning, square footage and permits. These are inspections that are concerned with the land size, location and necessary government permits of your house. You can obtain this type of inspection with a little aid from the titling company.

Hope the answer helps.

Andrew Kouvaritakis, JD