Why Buyers Should Demand an AB-38 Defensible Space Inspection

Californians in search of a new home must navigate various challenges. For instance, the market continues to push housing costs higher. Additionally, California regulators require certain inspections that other states don’t. One such example is the new AB-38 Defensible Space inspection. In this post, The Real Estate Inspection Company explains what the law requires, how it impacts your new home purchase, and what you can do about it.

Why Buyers Should Demand an AB-38 Defensible Space Inspection

New Law Requires New Inspection

Buyers looking to buy a new home located in a high- or very high fire severity zone face a new requirement this year. A new law went into effect requiring a defensible space inspection. A defensible space inspection outlines a home’s vulnerability to wildfires, and it’s now the law. Sellers must now prepare a disclosure form, which protects the buyer, right? Well, not exactly.

Buyer Beware

Like many things involved in a home sale, the seller can push the inspection ownership off onto the buyer with their agreement. No big deal, right? After all, homebuyers sometimes waive the home inspection in order to get the deal, so why not wait and take care of both after the sale? You can, but we don’t recommend that.

If you agree to take responsibility for getting the defensible space inspection, you must do so within 12 months of the purchase. What if you do that and the report comes back with myriad issues? For example, what if the report finds that you must remove trees, clear brush, or perform tree trimming? Each of these tasks can get very expensive. Moreover, they all become the buyer’s responsibility. If the general home inspection report identifies additional issues, you could find yourself financially upside down. 

How To Protect Yourself or Your Buyer

Like any property condition assessment, a Home Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Inspection reveals property issues. In this case, the report identifies anything the fire department could cite as well as risks and vulnerabilities to wildfires. To give you an idea of what mitigation can cost, removing one mature tree can range from $2,000-$5,000. If you don’t comply, your homeowner’s insurance company could drop your insurance. Moreover, the fire department can issue citations. 

The Real Estate Inspection Company Can Help

Fortunately, The Real Estate Inspection Company now offers Home Fire Hardening and Defensible Space inspections in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. In fact, we are the first home inspection company in California to provide this type of condition assessment. While CalFire and other fire departments only do inspections for sellers, we offer them to buyers, too. Whether you’re selling or buying, simply let us know you’d like to add this to the general home inspection. Call (800) 232-5180 to learn more, or schedule online.