An important aspect of purchasing Tucson Real Estate is understanding the home inspection. Mark Andrews with H&A Services (a home inspection company) has a great story regarding grandfathered Items in Home Inspections in his April 2008 Newsletter:
What constitutes a Grandfathered item relative to home inspections findings?
First a brief note about building codes. National building codes and construction practices change typically every three years. Municipalities review the national codes (building, electrical, plumbing, etc,) and modify these codes for their particular geographic area (snow loads, earth quakes, high wind, etc. may or may not be a factor). Accordingly, codes vary by municipality and the dates of adoption vary as well. The majority of home inspectors have a reasonable knowledge of IRC International Residential Codes) but few inspectors are code certified and none would be intimately familiar with code changes that may be adopted by the various municipalities. Accordingly, a home inspection is not a code compliant inspection and inspectors do not cite building codes in inspection reports. The question of “grandfathered” items comes up when inspectors point out items that do not meet current standards. Examples include: GFCI circuit breakers, smoke detectors, two prong ungrounded electrical receptacles, anti-siphon devices, safety glass, fuses in electrical circuits, etc. There is no grandfather language in the code books but it is understood that no municipal code compliance inspector will come to your home and require that the home be upgraded to current codes. So the issue is this: a home inspector points building practices and devices that would be considered not as safe as the current standard, the buyer decides that these are desired changes, the seller says “that’s the way it was built” and I’m not paying to have it changed. The home inspector is no longer involved; his job was just to point these things out. So, it’s a negotiation; an area where real estate agents show their value. There are circumstances that are not as black and white including: Kitchen and bathe remodels where the electrical work was not brought to current standard, two prong electrical outlets that have been replaced with three prong (but still ungrounded) outlets, flex gas pipe in furnaces (if the gas is shut off at the meter, the gas company will not turn it back on until the pipe is changed). Summary: Most of these issues are related to changes in building standards to make homes safer. Home inspectors point out many of these items allowing the buyer to make decisions appropriate to the next occupant’s circumstances.
Remember to be sure you have a reputable home inspector do an inspection before purchasing Tucson Real Estate.