As a potential home buyer, when you’re going through the real estate process it can definitely be an overwhelming experience, even for those who’ve been through it all before. There are far more questions than answers. There’s always some amount of risk. And what often feels like a thousand moving parts all needing your attention at once.
On top of all of the buyer’s inspections for quality, there is one more inspection, of a somewhat different sort, you may need to consider: The Municipal Pre-Sale Inspection. In the general Dayton area, there are 5 cities which require this type of inspection: Clayton, Englewood, Huber Heights, Oakwood, and Union. If you are not looking to buy within these city lines, then you are good to go! However, if you, like I did, buy within these cities, you may want to read on.
When a homeowner wants to do a home improvement project, the city often requires that the appropriate permits (and related inspections) be filed with the city. But how does a city control work which is done outside of this process? Well, they include a pre-sale inspection. Generally, the idea of these inspections, is to help the cities maintain a certain standard for the stock of homes. They don’t want homes falling into disrepair or using sub-standard construction. With the real estate process being a legal transaction, the cities see it as the perfect opportunity to step in. (Trust me, there are quite a few people opposed to these for a number of reasons.)
For 4 of the 5 municipalities requiring these inspections, only an exterior inspection is completed. Mostly, they’re looking to see that the structures follow code and local ordinances. The 5th city is that of Oakwood, who requires both an interior and exterior inspection of each home for sale. Again, they’re looking to see that no work has been completed without the necessary permits or deviates from code. These inspections do in no way valid the soundness of any construction projects.
So, how does the process work? Before closing, the seller will file a pre-sale application with the city (along with a fee, naturally) and schedule a time for an inspector to visit the property. If the property passes the inspection, the city will provide a certificate to that effect, which the title company will need before closing. However, if you are on the unfortunate side of things, any violations will need to addressed and re-inspected (again, for an additional fee… they have to make their money somehow 😉). Each city has different fees associated with them, and some have different fees for the various property types (i.e. single-family home, duplex, multi-unit buildings, etc.). For an initial inspection, the fees for a single-family home are: Clayton – $50, Englewood – $50, Huber Heights – $40, Oakwood – $60, and Union – $50. If the certificate of inspection is not provided, the title company will hold up closing, so there is no way around it.
For some, the constitutionality of these inspections has been called into question (Amendment 4, unreasonable search, and seizure). This is especially true in Oakwood. The city ordinance requiring a pre-sale inspection has come under fire, most recently in 2018. While altered, it is still actively enforced, though there is a chance that this may at some time change. Until then, we press on.
For any questions or more information, just send me a message.