Make Or Break: The Home Inspection

The home inspection can be a tense time whether you are buying or selling. If you are like most people, you’re not an expert on the inner workings of your home, and, while you might be able to fix a toilet or change out a light fixture, removing mold or lead paint is a completely different story. Because inspections happen after an offer has been accepted, both parties have a lot riding on a successful home inspection.

In addition to these health and safety issues, other large-scale issues might include the life of the roof and the condition of the major systems in the houseÑair conditioning and/or heating. Most inspections will also look at the state of the appliances, plumbing, driveways, fences, sidewalks, exterior siding, electrical system, chimneys, ductwork, garage and others. As you can see, there are a lot of places to find flaws that homeowners don’t think about every day.

If you are selling your home, one thing you can do is to hire a home inspector yourself to give the home a thorough check before you ever put it on the market. As you tackle the issues, keep copies of any contracted work or receipts that you used to fix the home. These can be useful when selling the home. If you decide to sell within a few years, you will know what areas still need repairs and be able to tackle them as cheaply as possible without endangering the sale of the home. When you buy your home, keep a copy of the inspection report in a safe place. It will give you a detailed account of what needs attention in the home.

Once you have your inspection report, you can use the expertise of your real estate agent to negotiate what will be fixed, what will be left and any change in the price based on the condition of the home. The seller can often make minor repairs easily and fairly cheaply. Major repairs could be a different story, though. For a seller, the motivation can often be to find the cheapest contractor to do the repair work, so it is often advantageous to the buyer to ask for a reduction in the overall price and handle the repairs so that they are satisfied, instead of relying on the goodwill of someone abandoning a connection to the home.

The process of the home inspection can be daunting, and it is important to get a reputable, independent home inspector mutually acceptable to both the buyer and the seller. In the end, the inspection provides more information, and that is always a good thing.

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