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The Best Tips for Your Upcoming Home Inspection

From the moment you make an offer on a property, a home inspection is one of the most important aspects of buying a home. It's an opportunity to ensure the property you're buying is in good condition, and if there are any problems, you'll have time to address them before closing. Below, we've highlighted our top tips for your upcoming home inspection and provided some extra details to help you make common mistakes.

Inspection report or no deal

It's common for sellers to withhold their inspection reports until after the buyer has committed to purchasing the property. Why? Because sellers know buyers will often back out of a deal if they discover defects that may be costly to fix.

The opportunity for you to review inspection reports should be part of the deal, otherwise don't buy the house. After all, sellers have access to inspection reports before placing their homes on the market, so it makes sense that buyers get an opportunity to review them as well.

Inspection reports also help educate buyers about what they need to decide about purchasing a home. They may even uncover problems that aren't so severe they would prevent them from buying the house but could be significant enough that they negotiate a better price or ask for repairs before closing on the sale.

Ask for presell inspection reports

When buying a home, you may want to ask if the seller will provide a pre-inspection report for your own inspector. These are reports generated for previous buyers. They can help your inspector find problems in the home fast and easily.

Sellers generally aren't required to produce a pre-inspection report. But some sellers provide one anyway — especially if they've had trouble selling the house and want to make it as attractive as possible.

A pre-inspection report can help you understand just how big a problem is and help you decide whether to make an offer on the house. You will know what problems you should expect to see when you get there, and you will be able to compare homes with similar conditions.

Inspectors check the structure of the house before handing it over to the customer

Scrutinize reports

If you're a first-time homebuyer, or you've taken some time off from home inspections, it's easy to be in a bit of a daze when you're looking at reports. But if you aren't vigilant, you could end up purchasing a home with major defects that your inspector didn't catch.

Your goal is to make sure the home is safe and structurally sound and determine whether it will hold up over time. Look for defects that were mentioned during the process. If your inspector mentioned them during the walk-through or in passing, but they don't appear on the final report, call to find out why.

Source for cheap bids for repairs and fixes

Contractor bids are also important because contractors sometimes quote low estimates in the hopes of getting your job. This should be a consideration of yours when choosing a contractor; if someone quotes prices below what you feel is reasonable, ask for the reasoning behind the price. Do not hire anyone who isn't willing to explain their estimate.

Finally, be sure to check references before hiring any repair contractors. Get personal references from friends or family members and ideally personal referrals from people who have used the contractor recently. Additionally, check websites such as Angie's List or Google reviews to see what other people have said about them. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against them.

Use the inspection report as your improvement checklist

  • Don't just look at the big-ticket items — like broken windows or damaged siding — but also look for things that may seem minor but could point to bigger problems (like a kitchen faucet dripping).

  • Schedule repairs with confidence - If the inspector finds something wrong, they should be able to recommend an appropriate contractor to fix it. If they don't, get a second opinion from another pro who will. Know what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line.

  • Fixing the highlighted issues in the home inspection report is critical - Use the report to help guide your interactions with repair contractors and define the scope of work for them. If you can't afford all the repairs, prioritize which fixes are most important to you, and make a list of things you can live with. Please communicate with your realtor or seller about which repairs will be completed before closing so they can factor this into the final costs.

  • Home inspectors can't predict future problems in a house — if there's water damage because of heavy rainfall in the area your new home is located, there's nothing anyone can do about that before you buy. But they should tell you what kinds of problems have been seen in homes like yours.

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