One of the final -- yet most important -- steps in purchasing a home is the home inspection.
After all, before you buy a property, you need to know if there is anything wrong with it!
While everything may appear to be fine, there could be some problems underneath or deep inside the home, and those issues need to be repaired before you sign the final paperwork with the current owners. (At the very least, you need to know they exist!)
Just how important is a home inspection?
A home inspection is one of the most crucial steps in purchasing a home, and since it's the buyer's responsibility to hire an inspector, you need to make sure you use someone you can trust to do a good job.
Most realtors can recommend a licensed home inspector that their clients have used before and were pleased with. It's important that you hire an inspector who is going to do an unbiased and thorough inspection.
If they find any damage to the home or repairs that need to be made, you have two options. Typically, most buyers and sellers agree that all problems will be fixed before the final purchase, but your other option is to deduct the cost of the repairs from the final price negotiations.
Depending where you buy, some states are caveat emptor, or "buyer beware", states. If that's the case, it means once you've purchased the home, you can't go back and make the seller pay for repairs for damages that were found after the date of sale. The only exception to this rule is if the seller purposefully concealed any defects or failed to disclose any facts about the property.
What do an inspector's services include?
Typically, a home inspector will look at the property from roof to foundation. Their job is to determine if there is anything structurally wrong with the home.
Therefore, they're going to be looking to see if the foundation is cracked, if there are any plumbing or electrical issues, if the roof needs to be repaired, if the ceiling joints are all still safe and intact, etc.
You want them to be thorough, but not too picky. (For example, some inspectors will point out cosmetic repairs that need to be made, like the paint in the kitchen is chipping. That's not a make-or-break issue.)
An inspector's job is not to try and talk you out of buying a home. All they're responsible for is determining if the property is structurally safe.
Some home inspectors are all-encompassing -- meaning they are going to check the structure of the home, and other potentially dangerous elements as well.
But, some don't!
It's important to know beforehand if your inspector is going to check for radon, termites, carbon monoxide, lead paint, and septic systems. If they don't, you'll need to make appointments with additional specialists to inspect the home for those potentially hazardous materials and problems.
Once the inspection(s) is complete, you should have a better understanding of the current condition of the home, and how many repairs need to be made before you can move in.
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