Get the Inspector 411
A home inspector examines what kind of shape a house is in. He or she will look at its structure (whether there’s any damage to the foundation, roof, or walls) and also check out the plumbing, electric systems, heating, and air-conditioning. Home inspectors don't give an appraisal based on what they find; they don’t determine your home’s value. Instead, they’ll let you know what kind of repairs are needed before you buy a home, or they can tell you how to avoid future problems in your existing house.
Get numbers for inspection agencies from your real estate agent or the American Society of Home Inspectors
. Call inspection companies for details on a pest inspection as well as a general inspection (and if the home was built before 1978, you’ll need a lead inspection too). Compare estimates.
Gather Home Info
You'll need to know the square footage, the year the house was built, and the number and type of heating systems. Make a date with one agency (you and your real estate agent should be there too). Take notes on what your inspector says could be foreseeable problems.
Deal With Damage
Call a contractor or an exterminator for an appraisal and decide if you still want the place. Renegotiate the contract with the seller based on the appraisal. Get another inspection after the problem has been fixed.
Make a Copy
Save copies of your inspection reports to take to your closing. Still consider negotiating for minor repairs.
Check out more of our Downloadable Real Estate Checklists.
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