Most homebuyers know the importance of a home inspection, but many of them are not aware of the need for a landscape inspection. Since the focus of buyers is typically on the home, the landscape might only get a cursory glance. However, there could be problems with the landscape that lead to costly repairs later. If you are buying a home, here is what you need to know about a landscape inspection.
Why Is a Landscape Inspection Important?
The landscape of a home you are considering might appear to be in good condition, but there could be hidden problems. For instance, there could be lighting or fencing issues that are not immediately evident. Unless you have the professional expertise to recognize potential problems, it might be too late to hold the seller accountable when you finally do notice.
During the landscape inspection, a landscaper will assess the patio, deck, soil, greenery, and irrigation systems. He or she will also look for natural hazards, such as the potential for flooding. If there is a problem uncovered, you can negotiate with the seller. He or she can choose to either take care of it or provide the funds for doing so.
Landscaping might seem like a minor issue, but some problems can have an impact on your home. For instance, if there are irrigation problems in the lawn, you could have standing water near your home. The water can lead to foundation problems, which has a direct impact on the structural integrity of your home. With the inspection, the irrigation problems would be discovered before damage can be done.
What Legal Protections Can You Use for Landscaping Issues?
A contingency is the best legal tool you have to protect yourself in the home buying process. Contingencies allow you to back out of the purchase of a home if certain conditions are met. In this instance, you can use a landscape inspection contingency as protection.
A landscape contingency is not commonplace. As a result, any standard agreements that you would normally use to purchase a home would likely not include the contingency. This does not mean you cannot include one though.
Your real estate attorney can add the contingency to the purchase agreement. He or she will customize the contingency to fit the circumstances. The seller most likely will agree to the contingency, but if he or she does not, talk to your attorney about other possible ways of protecting yourself.