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Save Yourself Thousands of Dollars with a Home Inspection

Aug 17, 2007
It is very important that you choose a qualified home inspector who has plenty of experience with residential homes in your area. It can literally save you thousands of dollars by helping you avoid the common pitfalls of purchasing a home. The knowledge and expertise of a professional home inspector will far surpass that of even the most experienced homeowner. There are aspects of maintenance, home safety, construction and installation could be missed by the untrained eye.

Most home buyers cannot remain openly objective and unemotional about the house they really want, and this could affect their judgment. It is a wise decision to acquire an impartial, third-party opinion by a trained professional.

Are there termites? Is there a mold problem? Will my kids be safe from lead-based paint and other hazardous materials? These questions and hundreds more will be answered by hiring a great home inspector to evaluate the home you're considering for purchase.

Note that you are looking for a great home inspector. A home inspection is truly only as good as the inspector conducting it. You should take hiring a home inspector as seriously (or more so) than you'd take hiring any other professional who has your life in their hands. They may actually have your family's safety in their hands, depending on how good they are at finding problems associated with properties.

Home inspector's abilities and experience vary greatly from one to the next. There are several new franchise companies that recently entered the industry, and you want to make sure you're not hiring a brand new inspector who just bought into the latest franchise. One way to quantify the quality of a home inspector is to contact a national or state association of home inspectors to find out what certifications are required for membership, and if there are any members in your area that they'd recommend. He or she should know how the home's systems and components are intended to function together, as well as why they fail. You may also want to ask your real estate Agent for a list of reputable companies they've worked with in the past.

An inspection by a qualified inspector should cost between $300 and $500 and give you a good idea of what future repairs will be needed. You can make your purchase contract offer contingent on a favorable inspection and may use the results of the inspection to your advantage. If the home inspection results do not meet your approval, you can get out of the contract if you would like. A great home inspection can not only help you avoid pitfalls, it can also help arm you with items you and your real estate Agent can use to your advantage to negotiate a better deal.

What the Home Inspection Should Cover

At a minimum, the home inspector should examine the following:

1.Exterior structural components including the foundation, roof, siding, and chimney

2.Interior structural components including the basement or crawlspace, attic, flooring, and ceilings

3.Major systems including heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical

You should make every effort to be present during the home inspection. Keep in mind that the inspector is working for you, not the seller or Agent or anyone else. They are on your payroll and should treat you as such. So, don't be shy about walking around and asking questions. This will give you a firsthand look at any problem areas associated with your future home.

Once the inspection is complete, you should receive a "Comprehensive Home Inspection Report" with descriptions, and possibly photographs, of any problems with the home. Sometimes, this will be sent to you later in the day, but some inspectors have means of printing a copy for your right on site.
About the Author
Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President & CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 250,000 Agents worldwide each year.
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