Get a Home Inspection when Buying a Home

A Home Inspection Can Save You Thousands in Surprise Home Repairs

By Mark J. Donovan

When deciding upon buying a home, it is important that you include in the purchase and sales (P&S) agreement a contingency clause regarding the successful completion of a home inspection. You should allow yourself up to 30 days from the date of signing of the P&S agreement, to have the home inspection completed and the results provided to you and the seller of the home. The purchase and sales agreement should be written so that you (the buyer) have the right to walk away from the deal, and recover your full deposit, if the home inspection is not satisfactory to your liking.

A home inspection is a broad term. A home inspection actually includes a number of inspections that typically requires the use of several resources.

A home inspector typically will check the building structure to ensure that it is structurally sound and that there is no damage or deficiencies in the home that you may have to address after you purchase the home. Damage or deficiencies could be as large as water damage or as small as doors not shutting properly. The home inspector will also examine the state of the electric, plumbing, and heating and air conditioning systems to make sure they are installed properly, and are operating correctly. He will also make sure there are no safety issues within the home. The home inspector can also look for lead paint, asbestos, and other types of dangerous materials that may have been used in the home construction.

Typically a home inspector can also provide water testing, and air radon testing. These are at additional moderate costs, however they are well worth the investment. You should make sure the water testing includes checking for bacteria and radon, as well as checking for the overall quality of the water. Radon testing of the water, and air, is also important if your home is located in a region where high radon levels are known to exist.

Home inspectors can also inspect for pests, such as rodents and insect damage. Again, there is usually a separate moderate charge for this service, however it is worth the investment. You do not want to buy a home that has a termite problem.

Do a Final Walk Through Inspection on New Home Construction or even for closing on an older home.

In addition to the home inspection, it is also important to have the septic system inspected if it is a private system. Typically you will need to employ the services of a septic cleaner to provide this type of inspection. You should also find out when the septic system was installed, how regularly it was maintained, and if it’s installation was approved by the state and local municipalities.

If there is any concern that hazardous material ever existed on the property, or if there are underground oil tanks on the premises, you will also want to have a hazardous material inspection performed on the property. If an active buried oil tank resides on the property, you may be able to obtain oil tank service information from the oil service provider that regularly maintains the filling and servicing of the tank.

In the event problems are uncovered during the home inspection, the P&S agreement does not necessarily need to be terminated if the buyer still wants to buy the home. Frequently the seller may be willing to correct the problems, at their cost and to the buyer’s satisfaction, in order to enable the purchase and sale of the home to continue.

New Home Construction Bid Sheet

A home inspection is an important part of buying any home, and thus the buying of the home should be contingent upon the buyer’s satisfaction with the home inspection reports. Your real estate agent should be able to provide you with a list of home inspectors in your area to choose from, and the cost of a home inspection is minuscule compared to the total cost of the home. A home inspection is well worth the investment; so before you buy your next home, get a home inspection.

To find a home inspector in your local area check the American Home inspector Directory, which maintains a national database of home inspectors. Similarly you can find a home inspector via Renovation Expert’s national database of contractors and home inspectors. Simply fill out their free form and 3 to 4 home inspectors in your local area will contact you. There is no charge or obligation to use this service or any one of the home inspectors.

For help on building a home addition, see’s Home Addition Bid Sheets. Our Home Addition Bid Sheets provide you with the knowledge and information on how to plan a home addition project, and what to look for when hiring contractors. They also include detailed cost breakdown tables and spreadsheets for estimating your own new home addition building costs.

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