Here's why having a thorough inspection is so important.
While only certain inspections are required by mortgage lenders or government mandate, a comprehensive home inspection is needed to tell you exactly what needs repair or replacement before you actually purchase a home. However, it is not legally required, so you, as the buyer, must pay for it. It is also recommended that at the time of the inspection you accompany the home inspector so that you can learn firsthand as much as possible about the home you are about to purchase - including such basics as where the main water shut-off and electrical distribution boxes are located.

Mortgage lenders typically require inspections for wood-destroying insects. Inspections mandated by the state or municipality could include: smoke alarm inspection, testing of well water, septic system test, and a certificate of occupancy, all of which are typically paid for by the seller. All other inspections are generally paid for by the buyer and must be done within a specified time frame, as indicated in the contract. Some insurers require inspection of underground oil tanks.

What if the inspections turn up problems?
You should expect problems to be uncovered. While some may be a matter of simple cosmetics, others may be more serious and may call for costly repairs. The good news, however, is that in most cases you and the seller will be able to come to terms. You may decide to compromise and share the costs of repairs or the seller may take the responsibility. In some cases, you may just decide that an issue is not important enough to risk losing the home.

Consider this your home buyer’s toolkit. Open it up, take a look around, and if you like, start equipping yourself with the tools necessary to make your best purchase. In most businesses, knowledge equals power, and real estate is certainly no exception.