When buying a new home, there are certain contingencies (aside from a mortgage contingency) that you should consider including in the agreement of sale.
First, make sure you have received a Seller’s Disclosure. Realtors use the Pennsylvania Association of Realtor’s standard agreement of sale. In it you should include a home property inspection that includes environmental hazards such as mold, asbestos and underground storage tanks. The purpose of the home inspection is to investigate the structure, building materials, plumbing, heating and cooling systems as well as the overall condition of the house. You should also include a wood infestation inspection to discover any active or past infestation of wood destroying pests and/or any resultant damage. Also, make sure you include a radon contingency to determine if there is any exposure to radon gas.
I also recommend the deeds, restriction and zoning contingency to review the zoning and file on the property with the municipality where it is located as well as to have the title searched. Consider the property and flood insurance contingency to investigate the cost for the house and flood insurance (if needed) to factor into your budget. If the house was built prior to 1978, include a lead-based paint hazard contingency to make sure such paint is not present in the house. If the property is serviced by an on-lot well and/or an on-lot sewage disposal system, make sure you include the contingencies for each. A property boundary contingency will also help you locate the boundary lines and any encroachments but may be expensive. Consider such a contingency if you are buying a lot that has not been recently subdivided. Finally, provide ample time to have the inspections performed and reports issued as a contingency may be waived if the inspection and report are not completed within the agreement’s contingency period.
Jonathan J. Reiss is a member of the Real Estate Department at Grim, Biehn & Thatcher with experience in all areas of real estate law such as sales, acquisitions, leases, land preservation, and real estate litigation. Contact Attorney Reiss today for help with all of your commercial and residential real estate matters.