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The Dos and Don'ts of Home Inspections


The value of a home inspection is gaining an expert’s insight into the structure and state of your potential house before you invest. A home inspector can see red flags that you and your agent may miss.

To make sure the inspection process is positive for you, the buyer, don’t forget these key factors. 

Find the right inspector

Your home inspector can make or break the terms of your sale based on his or her findings. That’s why finding the right inspector is so important. You need someone who you can feel comfortable trusting with finding any potential trouble spots or pointing out negotiable repairs that go beyond a quick, surface-level inspection.

It’s a good idea to reach out to family members and friends in the area who have recently purchased a home to see if they can recommend their home inspectors. And don’t skimp on research – make sure your inspector of choice is experienced and is a member of a professional organization.

Know what to ask

One of the biggest mistakes you can make during your home inspector’s walk-through is not asking questions. If something comes to mind that confuses you or that you need clarification on, be sure to ask while you have the inspector in person. You’re about to invest a lot of time and money into this property, after all, so no question is too silly. 

Your inspection may affect your negotiating and your offer, so do your homework. Ask about whether recommended repairs are necessary and how urgently they’re needed. And be sure you are given a detailed report from the inspector, ideally including photos of identified trouble spots.

Negotiate the repairs

When it comes to making required repairs to a home you’re poised to buy, know that it doesn’t all fall on your shoulders. Depending on the seller’s urgency to sell, he or she might be willing to foot the bill for some repairs during your negotiations. Work with your agent to identify which repairs found on the home inspection are likely to merit financial assistance from the seller.

This can include structural problems with the house, an inadequate roof, cracked rafters or even a broken window – it’s your prerogative to ask the seller to cover all or some of these costs before closing. It could save you money, time and energy regardless. 

Understand the differences

Some of the terminology you hear rattled off throughout the homebuying process can sound similar – when it comes to home “appraisals” and home “inspections,” it’s important to know the difference. The easiest way to think of them is this – an inspection benefits you, while an appraisal benefits both you and your lender. 

An appraisal shows you and your lender that you are not paying more than the true value of the property. Keep in mind that this is something the buyer typically pays for and could also have an effect on your required downpayment and interest rate. 

Your home inspection is a crucial part of buying a house – don’t miss an opportunity to make the process run as smoothly as possible!

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Topics: Homeownership

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