Home buying process - Inspections

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Importance of getting an inspection

It is recommended that you hire a professional to perform a home inspection on the house you are interested in purchasing. A home inspection is an objective examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. Make sure the professional you hire inspects all the major systems in the house, such as heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical. The fee for the inspection is a cost to the buyer paid at the time of the inspection.

If problems are identified, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the house. However, you should be aware of potential repairs. A seller may adjust the purchase price or sales contract terms if major problems are found. Or, you may decide not to purchase the home. The age of the house may dictate other type of inspections necessary.

If you decide not to proceed, you may forfeit certain up-front fees, such as your mortgage loan application fee and credit report fees that you may have already paid the lender.

How to find a qualified inspector

One way to find a professional home inspector that has the experience and knowledge to properly inspect the home you are interested in purchasing is to ask your REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® can usually point you to a list of home inspectors or provide resources where you can choose a home inspector. It’s wise to always ask for credentials and ask for references.

Different types of inspections

There are three types of inspections commonly performed; mechanical, structural, and environmental. Some home inspection companies provide all types of inspections but it is not unusual to arrange for a mechanical inspection and also for a structural inspection. If the property has a septic system, for example, it’s a good idea to also have an inspection performed on the septic tank.

The mechanical inspection covers all of the working components in the home such as the heating systems, cooling systems, plumbing, electrical systems, and appliances that stay with the property such as a dishwasher.

A structural inspection covers the foundation, roof, and the overall construction of the property and alerts the homebuyer to any defects that might not be visible to the untrained eye.

Information about lead based paint, mold, asbestos or radon can be found under Consumer Issues, Finding a Healthy Home.

Asbestos in the home

Lead-based paint in the home

Mold inside the home

Radon in the home

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