Novato Pre-Sale Inspections

A recent story in the Marin Independent Journal about the City of Novato?s efforts to normalize and accelerate home re-sale inspection processes was well received by many of my clients. As you probably know, all homes sold in Novato must be inspected prior to being sold. While many people think that the home re-sale inspection is nothing more than a chance for the City to generate additional revenue, it is much more than that.

Truth is, most cities and towns in Marin require re-sale inspections. And city inspectors help ensure that when we buy homes in Novato, those homes are up to minimum standards of health and safety?a valuable service in my book! They also ensure that when we buy a home in Novato, we receive a copy of the inspection report (which must be given to the buyer, who must then send in confirmation of receipt of the report). Thus, full disclosure of most permit issues are on the table.

But over the past few years the inspection process was chastised for being too slow and too inconsistent. Inspections could take weeks to be scheduled and once the done, it could take another 10 business days to obtain the report (so you could be looking at a good 45 days between signing up for an inspection and receiving the report). This ruffled the feathers of buyers and sellers alike who had agreed to close in escrow sooner (truth is, sellers should have the inspections done ahead of time anyway, but that is another issue entirely).

In addition, many agents noted that some inspection reports identified issues that other reports ignored. They complained that the inconsistencies in the reports resulted in an inability to give concrete advise to their clients. In addition, if the report said something needed a permit or needed to be fixed, there was no meaningful protocol to appeal that finding. All of this is currently being addressed by the City, which should be applauded for acknowledging the issue and taking meaningful steps to address it.