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Licensed home inspectors are a trained eye that will give you a professional opinion regarding the condition of the home. Some items that you may think are minor might actually be major, or perhaps a crack that you think is going to bring the house down is actually just cosmetic.
The inspection should be done within the first few weeks of going under contract, so if you're reading this and haven't yet scheduled yours, now would be a good time to start looking for a reputable home inspector in your area. If you don't know of any, ask a real estate agent or a friend who recently bought a house if they can recommend one.
Here are just a few things to keep in mind during the home inspection:
You can attend. You are free to attend the home inspection, and many inspectors encourage it. This enables the inspector to answer any questions (if they can) about the home in real-time and to understand what your concerns may be. Just remember not to hover and follow them around. Best practices would be to let them inspect the home at their own pace, and then circle back up with them at key points throughout the process to discuss their findings.
You will receive a report. After the inspector has been through your home, he or she will provide a detailed home inspection report identifying any issues or concerns they've discovered about the property. Keep in mind the inspector's job is to identify the problems, not fix them. They might also recommend other professionals to come out to the property and inspect further - for example, a radon testing company (if the area is known for radon gas) or a termite inspector.
Repairs are negotiable. Once your home inspector has issued you a report of their findings, then you will need to decice which repairs you'd like done before you take possession of the home. Some of these might be major, such as asking for a new roof (or roof credit), while other items may be minor. Keep in mind that in cases where the seller might be willing to throw in a credit to you in lieu of doing actual repairs. It means you will have to get the repairs done yourself, but save the seller the hassle, which may put them in your favor.
Depending on how your home inspection went, you may also want to look into the following other inspections:
- Pest & Termite
- Lead Paint Inspection (if built before 1978)
- Mold Testing
- Well & Septic