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Home inspectorA home inspection is an important preliminary step before buying a house. During a home inspection, a professional will come and do a visual evaluation of the house’s structure and condition. A home inspector will usually cover the foundation and frame of a house, insulation and ventilation throughout the house, the condition of the air conditioning units, the roofing, electrical, and plumbing systems. However, even with a home inspection, many new homebuyers are surprised by extra costs and expenditures they have to make soon after their purchase.

For this reason, it’s important to follow some smart practices so that you can be sure that your home inspection is as effective as possible.

  • Attend the inspection with the home inspector. Some inspectors won’t like this, but others will be grateful for the involvement. You can be a second pair of eyes, bring up specific concerns that you’ve noticed about the property, and see for yourself the things that they bring up with their professional eye.
  • Pay the home inspector yourself. If you rely on a home inspection that’s been done by the seller or real estate agent, you could be given a skewed vision of the situation. Make sure that your home inspector only answers to you and your concerns.
  • Plan for excess repairs and surprises no matter what. No home inspector, no matter how reliable and experienced, can see through the walls and floorboards.
  • Include inspection contingencies in your contract or bid. Some house contracts have a contingency specifying that the contract is invalid until the buyer has had the chance to sufficiently inspect the home and confirm its advertised value and condition.
  • Even if you’re purchasing a new home, get an inspection. You may not have the same problems presented by age, but there’s still a risk that corners were cut during construction, compromising the long-term stability of the house.
  • If you have specific concerns, you can have inspections done by specialists. A home inspector won’t notice everything in the plumbing that a professional plumbing does. They don’t have as much specialty with the furnace as an HVAC specialist does.
  • Read the whole home inspection report, along with the pre-inspection agreement that enumerates all the things that the inspector will look over. If there are things that you want to add to the list, discuss it with the inspector beforehand. Make sure that your home inspector is able to explain to you just which problems are severe and which ones are minor.
  • Remember that problems listed on a home inspection sheet aren’t necessarily deal breakers. Often, you can get a better price on a home where you’re willing to invest a little time and work, even if you include the costs of repairs and re-installation.