Inspection Reports for Real Estate Transactions

April 18, 2017

By Associate Attorney John E. Solan

The process of finding a future home can be an exhaustive process.  While hearing that the Seller has accepted your offer to purchase a home comes with a sense of relief and excitement, the work for a home buyer is not yet complete.  One of the most important clauses in a standard real estate purchase contracts is the Inspection Contingency.

During the process of shopping for homes with their real estate agent, most home buyers do not perform a thorough inspection of the property itself.  The Inspection Contingency paragraphs set forth in the IRELA Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract, as well as other standard real estate purchase contracts, allows time for the Buyer to have the home inspected by a professional.  Although the Buyers are not required to have an inspection performed, it is usually in their best interest to have an inspection of the home completed.

The IRELA Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract states that the inspections of the home are to be performed by one or more licensed or certified inspection services.  The Illinois Home Inspector License Act, 68 Ill. Adm. Code 1410, sets forth the rules and regulations that control licensed Home Inspectors in the State of Illinois.  Section 1410.200 sets forth the Standards of Practice for the Home Inspectors.  Per these regulations, the agreement between you and the Home Inspector must include, among other items, a list of the systems and components to be inspected.  The agreement should also include limitations or exclusions of systems or components being inspected.  It is important for the Buyers to review the limitations and/or exclusions of the Home Inspector agreement to make sure that the major components of the home are being properly inspected.

The Home Inspector should provide you with a written report of the inspection of the home.  This usually includes photographs and descriptions of areas of the home that the Home Inspector agreed to inspect. The Home Inspector report is a starting point to review and discuss any home related issues with their attorney. While your attorney will advise you through the process of purchasing your home, the attorney’s scope does not normally include inspecting the home itself or making representations regarding the condition of the house.

In the event that the inspector finds an issue, the Report will include a reason why a system or component is deficient and whether the reported issue should be corrected or monitored.  Some Home Inspectors will include suggested repairs for issues and/or suggestions for a qualified professional to preform additional inspection of the issue. 

In certain circumstances the Home Inspector may suggest that the Buyers retain the services of a more specialized professional to conduct a more thorough inspection of certain systems and components of the property.  For example, a licensed plumber may be able to provide you with a more detailed and specific report for issues relating to a sewer or drain line as they have the necessary equipment to conduct such inspections. The inspection reports by subsequent professionals may have additional fees associated with them.  However it is usually in the best interest of the Buyers to have this information in order to decide whether they want to move forward with the purchase and, if so, whether to request that the Seller to resolve the issue(s).