Purchasing a home is often one of the largest investments in life. As such, we recommend that you get your "rent-to-own" home inspected. That way you are informed of the condition of the house and any issues or potential issues. The inspection also gives you a measure of protection against entering into something that may not seem so good 'under the surface'. Inspections are optional - not required and you have the right to waive any inspection rights you may get. In some cases, this option is the best choice but in most cases, an inspection is the wisest choice. Listed below is information on inspection contingencies, inspection items and inspector qualifications.

Inspection Contingencies

An inspection contingency is in layman's terms, an 'escape clause', in other words, a way to get out of the deal without losing any deposit funds put down to hold property for closing. In the case of a "rent-to-own", 'closing' refers to the "front end", the start of the lease/option term. The terms of the inspection contingency vary but typically are 7-15 days with a 3-7 day notification period after inspection completed to send in an inspection acceptance or non-acceptance report. If you do not accept the inspection, an agreement could be worked out to rectify the issues of the inspections or you could use the escape clause and get out of the deal without losing your deposit money. Note: some transactions require some form of non-refundable 'reservation deposit'. In these cases, these funds would not be refunded. Also, depending on the condition of the property and/or other terms, an inspection contingency could be unavailable or limited. In these cases, inspections are for buyer informational purposes only and, even if only in that respect, are still valuable.

One final point about "rent-to-owns" and inspections. Any inspections MUST be done before the start of the lease/option term and not at time of exercise of option (which may never come). Once the lease/option term starts, the property condition is considered accepted and no further inspection contingencies are permitted.

Inspection Items - What to look for in an inspection

Listed below are the top 10 property conditions (and warning signs) that most often lead to disputes:

  1. Mold/Water Intrusion:

    • Poor grading
    • Patios, walkways against foundation
    • Sliding doors at grade level
    • Depression around foundation
    • Inadequate ventilation in crawlspace or attic
    • Cracks in foundation
    • Efflorescence
    • Roof stains in attic
    • Missing roof shingles
    • Stains on ceilings
    • Newly painted foundations/floors
    • Water stains baseboard/furniture legs
    • Mold
    • Sump pump
    • Downspout not extended
    • Window rot
  2. Structural Defects/Flooring/Walls:

    • Sloping or sagging floors
    • Overly snug fit to floors and windows
    • Cracked tile floor
    • Excessive concrete cracking and separation
    • Alterations without permits
    • Sagging beams
    • Funky supports/columns
    • Stair riser/tread size
    • Crushed sills/joists
    • Suspicious homeowner repairs
  3. Sewer/Septic:

    • Slow sink drains
    • Toilet flush fills, then drains
    • Odor in yard - septic breakout
    • Internal odors
    • Washing machine (grey water) drained to outside
  4. Insects/Vermin:

    • Termites
      • Mud tubes
      • Damaged wood
      • Soft spots or blisters on drywall
    • Powder Post Beetles
      • Frass
      • Small circular/oval holes
      • Meandering holes through wood
    • Carpenter Bees
      • Staining
      • Bees hover around eaves, deck, fence
      • Round holes
  5. Plumbing Issues:

    • Loose and missing grout and tiles
    • Loose toilet
    • Safety glass at tub or shower enclosures
    • Water odors (sulfate)
    • Aged piping
    • Leaking drain pipes
    • Reduced water pressure
  6. Roof:

    • Age of roof
    • Rusted flashing
    • Missing, cupped or curled shingles
    • Stained ceilings
    • Cracked or missing tiles
    • Buckets in the attic
  7. Environmental Issues:

    • Radon (in air and water)
    • Asbestos
    • Lead
    • Underground Storage Tanks
  8. HVAC:

    • Aged units
    • No maintenance tags
    • Odors in house or near unit
    • Ineffective function - not hot enough, not cold enough
  9. Electrical Issues:

    • Outdated service size
    • Panel issues
    • Exposed romex
    • Open junction boxes
    • Extensive use of electrical cords
    • Aluminum wiring (primarily used from 1965 - 1974)
  10. Additional Areas of Concern:

    • Misstatement of square footage
    • Imported drywall
    • Boundaries
    • Zoning
    • Valuation
    • Off-site adverse conditions
    • Stigmatized property

Inspection Items - What to look for in an inspector

Just as we have our 'Golden Needle in a Haystack' lending team, when you choose an inspector, they should also be of 'golden needle' standards. This means that the inspector should be certified by the Connecticut Home Inspection Licensing Board and upon request, be willing to provide a disclosure stating this information.

License Types - There are 2 types of home inspection licenses in Connecticut:

  • C-License - This is for general inspections, everything except for wood boring insect inspections
  • S-License - Wood boring insect inspections

Certification - There are many different home inspection certification organizations (ASHI, CAHI, NAHI, ITA, NACHI and others). While all of these are good, 2 important ones are ASHI - American Society of Home Inspectors and CAHI - Connecticut Association of Home Inspectors. It is recommended that inspectors have these kinds of certification.

Do your Home Inspection Due Diligence...

Before hiring a Home Inspector, it is recommended that you ask the following questions:

  • Are they fully certified ?
  • How long have they been in business ?
  • Do they stand behind their inspections ?
  • Are they insured ?
  • Do they understand YOUR business ?
  • Do they understand THEIR business ?
  • Is support offered before, during and after inspection ?
  • What is the format of their report ?

For your protection (and also all other parties involved) it is recommended that you do your due diligence when it comes to inspections and choice of inspector as the laws of negligence in issues arising from home inspection cases can be up to 6 years !

Finally, just like we have our "Golden Needle in a Haystack" lending team, we have our "Golden Needle" Home Inspectors. These are inspectors who are fully and properly certified, charge reasonable rates and have performed well during inspections where we have personally worked with them.

Click on the company name or logo for full information on provided services.

Aboveboard Home Inspection, LLC

Aboveboard Home Inspection, LLC

Types of Inspections:

Home/condo including framing/structural assessment, roof & attic, foundation, walls, electrical system, plumbing system, HVAC system, bathrooms, kitchen, radon, termites/wood boring insects, more

- Steven Abbate
Phone Number (office):
- (860) 232-8887
Phone Number (cell):
- (860) 916-9208

Hoffner Inspections

Hoffner Inspections

- InterNACHI
Types of Inspections:

Comprehensive home inspections, termites/wood boring insects, septic, radon, well, lead, energy audits

- Bill Hoffner
Phone Number (office):
- (860) 889-7246
Phone Number (cell):
- (860) 884-2435

Tiger Group, Inc.

Tiger Group, Inc.

Types of Inspections:

Standard Home Inspection: Termites/wood boring insect report, exterior, garage & outbuildings, basement/crawlspace, heating & cooling, electrical, plumbing & water heater, kitchen/bathrooms, interior rooms, attic

Staff Specialities: Antique homes, luxury homes & fine estates, energy efficient homes

Optional Environmental Testing: Well water quality, radon air and water, well flow test, mold sampling and inspections

Commercial Building Inspections: Dedicated division, all building types

New Construction: Multi-stage inspections, full inspection

Homeowner Services: Home maintenance checkup, renovation monitoring

Phone Number :
- (800) 328-4677

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American Septic Services LLC American Septic Service

American Septic Service LLC

- State licensed for septic tank inspections
Types of Inspections:

Septic Tank Cleaning, Electronic Tank Location, Septic Inspections, Camera Inspections, Grease Trap Cleaning, Commercial Drain Cleaning

- Thomas Dorsey
Phone Number:
- (860) 314-0252

Well, that's it for inspections. If you have any questions,