After a laborious, months-long process, you’ve found your dream home. Between the square footage, the neighborhood, the finishes, and the school district, everything is perfect. You’re all ready to close, right?
Not so fast. Given that a house is probably the biggest financial investment you’ll make in your life, you need to be 100 percent certain of what you’re getting into. A home inspector can make sure no stone is unturned and that you won’t be caught with a massive surprise bill in a couple of years.
Don’t trust any attestation that your desired home is free and clear of any problems from an inspector hired by the seller. You need to hire your own to ensure the best results. You can find an inspector through the yellow pages, in the newspaper, or through a referral from your Realtor®.
What is a home inspector supposed to uncover? First, a good inspector will spot any signs of material damage to the house: Water damage, a termite problem, a leaky roof, asbestos, lead paint, and a troubling level of radon. The inspector is also looking for problematic elements like a property dispute with the neighbors as well as any liens against the house. The inspector will detail the repairs necessary for every fatal flaw as well as the likely cost.
Not happy with the results of your inspection? Maybe the problems run deep enough for you to abandon the property altogether and you’ll be happy you dodged a bullet. However, you can also use the inspection as leverage to demand a lower price on the home or to compel the seller to take care of the pesky maintenance early on. No matter what, it’s important to empower yourself with enough information to know what you’re signing up for!