So you've been looking for a new home for a while and you've finally found the perfect place. But before you call the movers, experts recommend that you hire a home inspector to dig into the home's nitty-gritty details.
After all, your dream pad might have a great kitchen and a gorgeous view, but if the foundation is faulty and the furnace is wheezing, you'll want to know that before you move in. The home inspector will make sure your new place is in good shape, and a top-flight inspector will check everything from the plumbing to the roof.
First, you need to know exactly who the home inspector is-and how to find a good one. Home inspectors are usually construction experts, often trained and certified by a local or state board. Some states require inspectors to pass an exam in order to obtain a license, while others also require inspectors to amass specialized educational credits.
Some say the best way to find a reliable inspector is simply to ask friends who had their houses inspected and look for recommendations. Multiple websites also rate home inspectors.
Once you find a promising inspector, find out whether or not the inspector is a member of organizations like the National Association of Home Inspectors, American Society of Home Inspectors, or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
You may want to independently verify an inspector who's recommended by your agent. The inspector plays a crucial role in finding the right house, so you want to be sure that you're getting the best service you can.
And to make sure you're working with the right real estate agent, Realtor, or broker, check out our Finding the Right Real Estate Agent article
Home inspectors typically take several hours and examine the property's structure, including the roof, foundation, basement, and attic. The inspector will also check systems within the home, including the plumbing and electrical work. If you want other work conducted, such as mold or radon inspection, you can either look for an inspector certified in those areas or work with a different inspector. Remember that inspectors offering specialty services often charge extra for work beyond the standard inspection.
A buyer can include a clause in the contract that makes the sale contingent upon a home inspector verifying its condition.
After the home inspection, your inspector will sit down with you and discuss the inspection's findings. Take notes, especially on areas of the home that need fixing or may be falling into disrepair. Remember: your inspector isn't making a decision about whether or not you should buy the house-what you're getting is a detailed look "under the hood."
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