For most people, buying a house is the most expensive purchase you will ever make. The hundreds of thousands you pay for the home initially is just the start of your continual investment. Over the years there will be on-going maintenance costs and money spent to upgrade and improve important areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms.
When you have selected a home, you love it's important to do your due diligence and carefully examine any potential issues with the house. Savvy investors and real estate agents recommend that you get a home inspection before you finalize your purchase. By having a trained professional inspect the home, you will save money and avoid potential costly problems and repairs that could sink your housing budget later on.
Areas Covered by a Home Inspection
The home you are looking to purchase has many systems and structures that must be examined. Home inspections evaluate the exterior and roofing, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical and insulation and ventilation in the dwelling. They can also assess the safety and performance of the fireplace and any fuel-burning appliances.
Important Specialized Evaluations
In addition to evaluating and assessing the structure and systems within your home to be, it's important to take a look at other key areas. Radon Testing should be done to see if radon gas is present and what steps should be taken to mitigate or eliminate the problem if it is found. Examining the house for mold is also very important. The presence of harmful mold spores can cause numerous illnesses and in the most extreme cases, make the house unlivable.
Is it Permitted and Up to Code
Another area that's really important to look at during the home inspection is whether any room additions, garage alterations or basement improvements were properly permitted and up to code. Sometimes previous homeowners make major changes to a home without filing for the proper permits. Then, if you buy the home, this issue becomes your problem and you will have to fix and pay for the improvements to be done right.
Home Inspection as a Negotiating Tool
In addition to giving you a heads-up as to the condition of the home and highlighting issues that need immediate attention, home inspections are one of the buyer's best negotiating tools. Your real estate offer and contract should specify that your purchase is contingent on the home inspection. By doing this, you protect yourself if major or extensive issues are discovered. You can go back to the seller and ask that they pay for and fix items found in the home inspection. In a worst-case scenario, where there are costly repairs the seller refuses to pay for or the house is unsafe because of issues like radon or mold, you will be entitled to walk away from the purchase.
It's wise to include a professional home inspection as part of your house purchasing process. The inspector can inform you of any potential issues and you will be able to negotiate and work with the seller to fix problems before you take possession of your new home.
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