Keys to Homeownership: Getting a home inspection

Kathleen Hansen - 2016-04-05

Before signing on the dotted line, it's important to know what exactly comes with the new house you're about to buy. In addition to that amazing kitchen, fabulous master bath and lush green backyard, could there be foundation issues? Or maybe a rotting roof in need of replacing? You may not be required to have a home inspection, but it is highly recommended and almost always worth the money. Help reduce your stress and take the guesswork out of potential issues by working with a qualified home inspector.

First and foremost, let's discuss what exactly happens at a home inspection. Home inspections should be completed by a licensed professional. Your real estate agent will likely be able to give you the names of home inspectors they have previously worked with. The inspector will examine the property inside and out to identify any issues. He may also recommend that a specialist further examine certain items, such as the plumbing, furnace or air conditioner.

Hopefully, your prospective home will pass inspection with flying colors. However, sometimes problems are identified. Issues can range from a malfunctioning electrical outlet to a leaky roof. If an inspector identifies potential problems, you can discuss how you want to move forward with the sellers. In some cases, a seller may be willing to lower the asking price or correct the issue(s), while other times the property may be sold on an as-is basis.

It's important for buyers to remember that any issues that may be identified could be further negotiating points. "Try to be realistic in the things you ask for. That will help you get the important things done," says Edwards. Keep in mind, she adds, that many sellers will hire an inspector when they list their property and try to address potential problems in advance.

It may seem overwhelming to think about the various problems that could be revealed by an inspection, but it could be even more overwhelming to discover those shortcomings after you move in. Make sure to ask friends, family members and your real estate agent for their recommendations for a well qualified home inspector. It could ultimately save you thousands of dollars and a major headache down the line.

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