Homebuying 101: Home Inspections

You finally found the perfect home and it appears to be in excellent condition, congratulations! But, sometimes that perfection is only visible from the outside and larger issues are hiding from plain sight.

A home inspection can ensure that a purchase of this magnitude will be a solid investment and can help uncover any potential issues you may wish to avoid. The home inspection covers several systems within the house, but they focus on spots that concern buyers the most, including: the foundation, exterior, the full lot to check drainage, roof, attic, electrical systems, interior, basement (or crawl space), plumbing, appliances, heating/cooling systems and any safety systems.

Home inspections are typically conducted by a home inspector who has undergone specific training and is certified to do this work. After they have inspected a home, they prepare and deliver a written report with any findings, a description of the condition of the home and often also offer maintenance tips and photos at the time of inspection. You can then review the report and use it to make informed decisions about your pending purchase.

Here are a few things we recommend:

  • Choose wisely: Be sure to choose a qualified inspector. If you receive a recommendation, be sure to do some research. Check to be sure they are trained, certified and insured. Ask how much experience they have and ask to see a sample home inspection report – a good report averages 20 or more pages and contains photographs and complete descriptions of any issues and fix recommendations.
  • Attend the inspection: If you are able, attend the inspection! It will help you better understand issues that may arise, and you are able to ask questions in real time.
  • Read the report: Take time to read the report, review the issues and recommended fixes, as well as ongoing maintenance recommendations.

After you’ve reviewed the report, take time to talk with your Realtor and the inspector to ensure you’ve identified the major items that need to be addressed prior to you taking ownership of the house. This is the time where you can ask the seller to fix critical items or provide an allowance to fix them on your own. If the seller isn’t willing to fix the items or give you an allowance, you can then consider if walking away from the deal is going to be better than investing in critical repairs.

Taking the time to hire a true professional to conduct an inspection is the best way to ensure that your perfect home is as close to perfect inside and out when you turn the key for the first time as an owner.

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