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What You Need to Know about Home Inspections

Before purchasing a home, one of the most important things you can do is have a home inspection. This prevents you from making an unwise investment in an overpriced house or even protect you from potential health and safety hazards that can mean life or death. A home inspection will give you detailed assessment of its existing condition. It should include information regarding any major elements and operating systems as well as point to any flaws and failings that will possibly lead to costs of repair in the future. You should hire a licensed inspector who has experience in all areas of the home.


A good home inspection will cover the entire property. Your inspector should assess all levels in the home, including basements and attics. The home’s interior will be examined as well as the exterior. Windows and door, roofing, gutters and downspouts, heating and cooling systems, and garage doors are all examples of common areas that will be checked. Your report should include a list consisting of major concerns, safety issues, repairs needed, improvements suggested, areas to monitor, and deferred cost. You can review it to see if you will need to negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of repairs before you move to closing.


While some home inspections will include a termite inspection, others do not. You should verify whether this service is included and consider adding one where they are not. A termite inspection is sometimes called a WDO inspection, since these professionals are looking for “wood destroying organisms”. Unfortunately, termites are not the only pests capable of doing such damage to homes. WDO inspectors will seek out damage from termites and other insects. They will also inform you of conditions that could attract destructive pests to the home, like certain trees that are on the property.


Radon inspections are another thing you will have to ask your home inspector about. Some include this service, while others don’t. It is important to make sure you have a radon inspection because exposure to this gas can lead to lung cancer. Because you cannot see, smell, or taste radon, having a proper inspection for it is advisable. A radon testing monitor will be left in the lowest level of a home for 48 hours or more to collect the information. You will then be provided with a report on the findings. You should request that the sellers install proper radon mitigation system if high levels are discovered within the home.


Let’s face it, potential buyers fall in love with a home with their eyes. They quickly imagine holiday gatherings and warm nights by the fire, where ma-maw’s pie safe will sit and the other furniture will fit. They rarely see the details and realities of the house that could wreck the dreams they have for the place. Home Inspectors are an important part of the team.


Buying a new home can be an exciting time. Having the correct home inspections occur before signing are necessary to ensure you’re making a sound investment. Your health and safety could be at risk without them. Even if you find out that the home you intend to purchase has a problem, you can negotiate with the seller to address these issues before you move to begin the closing process. If you have questions on the process, consult with your real estate agent or your attorney about addressing concerns through changes to the contract called addendums.


James Schroeder is an attorney licensed to practice in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.


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