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What Is a Home Inspection?


Everyone should have a home inspection when buying a new house because it will reveal potential problems with things like the structure and condition of the house. An inspector will examine everything including the roof, plumbing, electrical systems, septic or sewer systems, heating and air conditioning units, insulation, and much more.


Home inspections are not usually required and they do pose an extra expense. But it's not a corner that should be cut. Otherwise, you risk moving into a home that can have potentially serious problems that may cause you huge headaches and create a financial drain in the long run. You wouldn't want to move in to your home and find out months later that you have significant termite damage or that the sub-floor of your bathroom was rotted out and needed replacing.


Spell It Out Make sure your purchase offer includes a detailed statement of your right to a home inspection. If the inspection reveals more problems than you're willing to deal with, you may be able to back out of the deal, especially if a contingency is built into the agreement. Get It in Writing It's possible that the seller may not make all the repairs you'd like them to make. So before you sign the papers at closing time, make sure that everything is spelled out in written form. It should be clear what each party's responsibility is beforehand.


Call a Professional Get a properly licensed professional to do the inspection. Even if you know someone who might have experience in construction or even inspection, be sure the person has the proper licensing and credentials required by the lender so that you can be sure the house is in order and that no problem is overlooked.


If there are problems, a professional inspector can tell you which problems are small and which ones might be cause for concern. They may also know little tricks to making quick fixes to the less important problems.


Don't Ignore Problems You may have found the home of your dreams. But just because the home seems perfect, don't assume that it is, even if it's newly-constructed. Not all builders do a perfect job or use the best materials.


How to Find the Right Inspector If you have a realtor you know and trust, ask who they would recommend. They deal with inspectors all the time and should know who the more reputable ones are. Ask your friends and family for referrals, especially if they've moved into a new home recently.

When you've narrowed the list of inspectors, be sure to ask them lots of questions. If possible, try to be there for the entire inspection. You can ask the inspector questions as you go through the house and he can explain everything in detail so that you understand what is a problem and what is not.


After they inspect the home, the inspector should give you a report detailing any problem areas accompanied by pictures of those problem areas. It should also have a checklist of all systems that have been evaluated. All in all, the inspection can take anywhere from two to five hours, perhaps more.


A home inspection is an important part of the home buying process. You want to make sure that the home is in good condition before you close on your mortgage so that you don't get stuck making large, costly repairs that could have been prevented or at least taken care of beforehand.

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  • Last edited November 30 2008
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