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Items to Look Into During

Due Diligence Period



Dear Home Buyer,

One of the terms of the contract that we negotiate for is a "due diligence period" usually between 7-10 days.  This is the time starting from the binding agreement date that you have to do all of your inspections and possibly negotiate with seller some concessions if you find things that are of concern that you didn't know about when making the offer.  Or if after inspections you might decide to terminate the contract and get you earnest money back.

This is the time to really look into everything that could be a factor in whether or not you really want to buy the home.

Don't take anything for granted. 

Trust but verify what's on the Seller's Property Disclosure.

After being part of 100's of sales, I have seen first hand many issues that can come up.

I've outlined most of the items that you need to check out during your due diligence period.  I want you to be prepared. 

Every home is a bag of problems.  There isn't a perfect home out there.  What you want to do is to know what problems you are buying so you can decide if you are willing to deal with them at the price that you negotiated.


Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities




Due Diligence Check List



Call Your Insurance Agent with the Home Information

  • They can run a C.L.U.E. Report which shows all claims on the property over the past 5 years. Sometimes if there were water claims in the past they might not insure it.

  • They can tell you if you need flood insurance and what the rates might be.  You can also check the FEMA flood maps to double check.

  • I use an independent insurance broker who can shop for the best rates and coverages for my specific needs.  Call Tricia Harris at Phoenix Associates.


Ask Seller of Any Knowledge of Past Deaths


Georgia Sex Offender Registry


Hire a Professional Home Inspector

  • In Georgia, anyone can say they are a home inspector. Make sure they are ASHI certified, they take digital pictures and have email reports.  I recommend RIA and try  to get Jim Duggan.  An inspection will take about 3 hours. 

  • You can order a radon test at the same time.  Read up on radon at the EPA site

  • Try to attend the inspection if possible.  It's like getting an orientation on your future home.  Also, you can ask questions about issues that come up.  Many times the way the reports are written, many small, inexpensive issues might sound like they are major problems and cause unnecessary concerns.


Get a Georgia Wood Infestation Report Done

  • This is a termite report that also checks for other pests such as powder post beetles.

  • The cost is about $60.  Some companies might do them for free hoping that they can get the yearly monitoring business.

  • You can also have them inspect for wildlife intrusion.  Are there rats in the attic?



Video Sewer Pipe Inspection

  • The regular home inspector will flush toilets and let a bathtub full of water down the drain but they aren't going to scope the sewer pipes

  • Roots in the sewer pipes take some time to create a backup.  The previous owner might have cleaned the pipes before listing the home.

  • A video sewer pipe inspection can not only see roots in the pipes but can see cracks  in the pipes where roots can enter.  Cracks can also lead to sink holes



Separate HVAC Inspection Really Helps

  • The regular home inspector will verify that the HVAC works and is cooling or heating but they won't be able to tell you more important details.

  • An HVAC technician can check the levels of refrigerant.  They also have special detectors to check for small leaks at the coils.

  • They can also check the furnace heat exchanger for cracks. Many times sellers will do band-aid fixes before listing so everything works then but then breaks down a few months after the sale and then it's your problem.



Use a Swimming Pool Contractor to Inspect Pools

  • Even though the regular inspectors charge extra to inspect pools, I have found that they just aren't good enough, kind of like the HVAC inspection

  • I recommend getting a pool maintenance guy to check out the pool.  They know what to look for and usually can tell you not only the current issues but what will be needed in the future.


Check for Building Permits

  • If there are obvious additions and renovations that have been made, It's good to know if the necessary permits were obtained so you know that things were done to code.

  • Some counties have those records online where they can be searched. Gwinnett County, Atlanta City, DeKalb County, Forsyth County

  • Other counties require you to go to their offices to find out.


Check for Defective Building Products 

  • Atlas Chalet roofing shingles. It might be smart to have a roofer do a roof evaluation.  I know a good guy who does it for free.

  • Polybutylene plumbing.  Inspectors will tell you if you have this.

  • Synthetic Stucco. This isn't automatically a problem but you need an entirely separate stucco inspection to find out if there are issues with the stucco.  Be prepared to spend an additional $500 for this kind of inspection.

  • Wood fiber siding made by companies such as Louisiana Pacific. 


Get a Survey

  • Find out where the boundaries are

  • Do your fences encroach on your neighbors?

  • Are there any easements for power lines, pipelines or drainage pipes?

  • Are there any stream buffers that would hinder what you might want to do?

  •  Surveys cost about $500.  A popular company is Solar Land Surveyors


Mold Testing

  • If you are worried about mold, get a separate mold test by a dedicated mold testing company.

  • Weather conditions can affect results so timing might be difficult






Frequently Asked Questions


How long is the due diligence period?
Like most things in the contract, it's negotiable.  But most sellers aren't going to want to extend it past 14 days.  10 days is usually a happy compromise


When does the due diligence period start?
The due diligence period start on the binding agreement date.  This is the date when both parties sign off on all the terms.  A day is considered to run until midnight. Only full days are counted.  So if the contract is all signed off on at 3pm on Monday and it has a 2 day due diligence period, you would have until midnight on Wednesday night.


What if we find issues that we want the seller to take care of?
We submit to the seller an "Amendment to Address Concerns" and start negotiations on the items. We have until the end of the Due Diligence Period to come to an agreement.


What if we can't come to an agreement?
You can do nothing which means you accept the property as-is and you continue on to the closing.  Or you can terminate the contract and get your earnest money back.  To do this we need to send the seller a "Notification Terminate and Release Earnest Money" before the end of the due diligence period.


What if I need more time to get a second opinion or estimates?
We can see if we can get the seller to agree to extend the due diligence period.  Many times the seller will want to get his own estimates too.


What if I want to get the repairs done myself after closing but I want the seller to pay for them?
That's usually the best way to deal with things.  First we come to an agreement on what is a fair concession and then we do an amendment to either reduce the price or for the seller to pay that amount in buyer's closing costs.


Can't I just get the seller to give me a check at closing for the costs to repair the items?
Most lenders won't allow any money to be paid from seller to buyer.  There aren't things like "carpet allowances" anymore.  Sometimes money can be held in escrow for repairs to be made within 30 days of closing but it all depends on the lender.  Most lenders require all repairs by seller to be done before closing.


What reasons can I use in order to be able to terminate?
You don't need to explain your reason.  You can just change your mind.  But since inspections can add up to a lot of money, you really don't want to go through the process unless you are really certain that you really like the home.



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This offer has nothing to do with any other agent at Atlanta Communities other than Tim Maitski.
Each agent is an independent contractor who can choose to do business as they so desire.









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All information about homes from the Atlanta MLS home search engine is input by thousands of individual real estate agents throughout Atlanta and is made available through a service called ListingBook. We provide access to this data for the convenience of our clients.  We have no control over this database.  All information on this web site is copyrighted and intellectual property of It is deemed to be current and accurate, but is not warranted. 2002. Tim is a licensed Realtor with Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage.

Tim Maitski is a member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors