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The Home Inspection

What Is It? Why Do I Need It?

It�s all-too-easy to overlook problem areas when you�re caught up in the excitement of buying a house. Your mind is more filled with where you�re going to put the furniture, than it is on whether or not the furnace is in good working order. This is where a good home inspection can save you some trouble.

A trained professional inspector looks at the house with a cold, critical eye to discover any existing, intentionally obscured defects or impending problems. Many defects are not visible to the casual observer, such as a cracked foundation or worn-out plumbing. This is why a thorough pre-purchase home inspection is such a good form of insurance for the buyer.

Leverage Power in Negotiations

Without a home inspection, you have no recourse against the seller. It is the only thing that stands between you and the seller in negotiating a fair price. Without the home inspection, you could face thousands of dollars in repairs that were not disclosed during the purchase process. Ideally, the seller will offer to repair any problems so the deal will close, or at least agree to adjust the price to cover the repair costs. This is why adding an inspection contingency clause in the contract is essential.

Most home inspections cost between $250 and $500. This is a small price to pay to find problems with the home. According to statistics from the Federal Trade Commission, nearly 42% of homebuyers face unexpected repairs in their homes costing an average of $500 after moving in. More than one in nine is forced to pay more than $1000 for repairs. This puts the small fee for a home inspection into perspective.

What Does Inspection Include?

A home inspection includes a total house and property assessment. The inspector will look at the structure, fixtures and appliances. He will look for potential hazards and costly repairs. And he will often give advice to you about maintenance to reduce repairs in the future.

The inspection will take about 2 to 3 hours. The inspector will perform a thorough visual inspection of the major systems and components of the structure, roof, interior and exterior surfaces, as well as the plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems. He will examine the lot grading and look for any signs of water damage or dampness in the basement. The insulation and ventilation will also be reviewed.

Your inspector will point out areas of concern and offer suggestions. Always ask questions. That is what a home inspector is there for. If he finds areas that may need substantial repairs, he often can offer an estimate for repairs. You may want to verify the cost of repairs with local contractors before agreeing to that amount with the seller. You don�t want to be caught short when the repairs are done.

Although you may be most concerned with the architectural details, wall and floor coverings, modern conveniences and many other factors in your buying decision, the focus of the home inspection is on the structural/mechanical/electrical condition of the property. The inspection is designed to give the real estate agent and buyer a concrete, unbiased way to detect some of the readily accessible major flaws or deficiencies in the significant components and systems of a home. However, be aware that a home inspection isn�t guaranteed to detect all of the flaws and problems that might exist in any given home.

The Inspection Report...


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