Home Inspection Tips for Home Buyers
by Brandon Cornett
The home inspection is an essential
part of the home buying process.
In this article we will talk more
about the home inspection, how it
works, how to find an inspector,
and related topics.
What Does a Home Inspector Do?
In short, an inspector checks the
safety and functionality of your
potential home. He will focus primarily
on the structural and mechanical
aspects of the home (as opposed to
cosmetic or aesthetic items).
It's a good idea to get a home inspection
as soon as possible after the seller
accepts your offer. This will help
you determine if there are any major
problems with the property -- and
sooner is better than later. You
should also make the purchase agreement
/ contract contingent upon the home
inspection. That way, if the inspection
uncovers a major flaw that you're
unwilling to accept, you have a legal
way out of the contract.
Don't confuse this process with
the home appraisal process. The appraisal
protects the lender's financial interests
in the property. The home inspection
protects your interests, as the buyer.
The appraisal is the bank's way of
determining whether or not the house
is worth the price you've agreed
to pay for it. The inspection is
your way of identifying structural
or mechanical problems with the house.
Two different things entirely.
Where to Find an Inspector
Finding a qualified home inspector
is usually fairly simple. Here are
- Ask a friend or coworker who
has recently bought a home in the
- Ask your agent if he or she can
recommend a qualified person for
- Visit the American Society of
Home Inspectors website at ASHI.org.
- Visit the National Association
of Home Inspectors website at NAHI.org.
When you find a candidate, ask how
many home inspections he has done.
Also ask what certifications he carries.
The person you choose should be certified
by one of the national associations.
Who's Fixing What?
So you've found someone to inspect
the property, and he has come back
with a list of discrepancies. Now
what? When you review the inspector's
list with your agent, you'll have
to decide which items (if any) you
want the sellers to repair. Like
nearly everything else in the home-buying
process, the fix-it list is negotiable.
When you submit your list of requested
repairs to the sellers, you face
one of several outcomes:
- The sellers will agree to fix
all of the items.
- They will only agree to fix some
of the items.
- They will refuse to fix anything
(most common in a seller's market).
- The seller will reduce the price
in lieu of certain repairs.
How you proceed in light of the
seller's response is up to you, with
your agent's input. A good rule of
thumb -- don't ever turn a blind
eye to a major repair issue just
because you're excited about getting
in the house. If you're an experienced
investor and you're buying the house
specifically to fix it up, that's
one thing. But if you're buying your
first home, be conservative and carefully
consider each item on the inspector's
list. It will benefit you in the
About the Author: Brandon
Cornett is the publisher of a popular mortgage
blog and several other real estate
websites. Visit the author online