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Home Buying: Is Your House Inspector Working For You?

by Jeffrey D. Leiser

If you, as a buyer, just wrote a sales contract on a house you plan to buy, or you are just in the beginning stages of buying a home, you're probably going to hire a professional to inspect the property. This could or could not be a required condition of your sales contract. Either way, you should have the home of your dreams checked out thoroughly to avoid extensive repairs. After all, buying a house is a big investment.

But take heed, not all inspectors are created equal. Although most home inspectors are qualified, in some states, any Joe Blow can hang out a shingle as a professional home inspector. Note, the word professional could mean they do work for the money and not necessarily with any expertise.

Now Available! The Home Buying Inspection Guide -- a way for homeowners to preinspect houses before spending a cent or wasting valuable time!


So, how do you separate the chaff from the grain? How about asking the realtor to refer a reliable inspector? Nothing says your agent can't supply you with a list of home inspectors. But remember, since the realtor is giving you these names, it’s quite possible the realtor and the inspector have worked together in the past. So, this could be a tricky situation. On the one hand, you need a professional inspection, and on the other, you don’t want to be taken by someone who knows just enough to fool you. The good news is that inspectors like to get repeat business and their main source of repeat business is the realtor's list. So, to get to the top of a realtor's selection list, an inspector will usually be lower in cost, which makes the realtor look good, and reliable at finding and recording any defects in his inspection, which makes you feel good, and should avoid complications later on.

Now, don't worry about whether you will have time to have the property inspected by a professional. A home sales contract should have a time period and / or time limit in which the buyer has the opportunity to make a formal inspection of the contracted house. During this period, you can hire as many licensed professionals as you wish to go over the home you are buying with a fine tooth comb. You could have plumbers, electricians, roofers, and structural engineers all crawling around and sniffing out every defect. "Wow, I wonder what that's going to cost?" you ask. Quite possibly, a lot.

My best advice is to get smart. Learn how to do your own general on-site inspection. This won't take the place of a professional inspection, which should be more in depth, but will eliminate those properties that may indicate loudly, "Hey, run quickly away and never come back!" Also, the more knowledge you have on what warning signs to look for, the better you, as the buyer, can address these issues.

Also, the more knowledge you have on what potential problems to look for, the better you, as the buyer, can address these issues.

When and where to perform this do-it-yourself inspection is easy to determine. A lot of information about a house can be noted simply on a drive-by. A "For Sale" sign in the yard is a stop and gawk invitation. During an open house or a scheduled visit, you can really take your time evaluating a home inside and out. Take extensive notes as you tour the house. Then, when you do your walk-through with the inspecting professional of your choice, you can get an immediate answer to your concerns. Make sure you get a written report on everything that should be repaired, along with a ball park figure on the cost of those corrections.

If the cost of repairs becomes a problem that can't be negotiated, then you have a easy way to get out of your contract and the money pit. More information on how to select and inspect a home can be found in the “Home Buying Inspection Guide? by Jeffrey D. Leiser.

*****

Jeffrey D. Leiser is author of the “Home Buying Inspection Guide? and the "You Can Sell Your House: For Sale By Owner" guidebook, Read more articles on home and garden topics in the Home Style News email newsletter. Subscribe free at http://ParadoxPro.com/ezine.html

Now Available!
The Home Buying Inspection Guide
A way for homeowners to preinspect houses before spending a cent or wasting valuable time!


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