You would take a car for a test drive before buying it, so do the same for the house you just bought. Get a home inspection — you’ll know whether you’re about to buy a great home, or some kind of lemon.
And, then: have your real estate agent negotiate around it.
A home inspection is a top-to-bottom examination of a house, performed by an objective, state-licensed home inspector. Inspections take about a half-day to complete and cost approximately $400, depending on the size and age of your house.
And, a well-performed inspection is worth every penny.
A home inspection will uncover things you and your real estate agent failed to notice about the house during your tours, and which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars to repair — and that’s just the start of it!
A good home inspection will reveal:
- Cracks in the home’s foundation
- Advanced mold infestations
- Defective HVAC and other broken appliances
It will also uncover basic problems with the home’s plumbing and electric; and, make note of building code violations that require a fix or an update to be in compliance.
Most home inspections include at least one defect in need of attention, which is why most real estate contracts include what’s known as the Home Inspection Clause.
The Home Inspection Clause is the buyers’ “out” from a bad contract. It says home buyers can back out of a deal when sellers refuse to fix defects found during an inspection.
That’s not what often happens, though.
It’s more common for buyers and sellers to use the inspection as a starting point for negotiation on repairs. A broken air filter, for example, can be replaced and neither party would want to cancel a deal over something so minor.
The negotiations and repairs can’t begin, however, without a home inspection. It’s a little bit of money for a lot of peace of mind.
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Home sales activity plunged in April, but U.S. home sale prices continue to climb.