Schedule a home inspection
Once you’ve chosen a home, schedule a home inspection appointment as soon as possible. You want to have plenty of time to resolve any problems.
What to do now
Find a home inspector
Choose an inspector with a reputation for being honest and thorough. You want someone who will give you a complete and honest assessment of the physical condition of the home.
- Ask friends or family in your area to see if they have an inspector to recommend. Ask what about their experience, specifically, leads them to recommend the inspector.
- You can also look for inspectors online. Check reviews from other buyers.
Schedule an independent inspection for the home as soon as possible
You want to know as soon as possible if there are any major problems with the home so you can decide whether or not you still want to buy the home. Also, if additional inspections are needed, you’ll want to have plenty of time to get them completed.
What to know
You should choose the home inspector yourself and plan to pay the inspector directly at the time of service
You want an independent home inspector who is accountable to you and will give you a complete inspection and an honest opinion. If the home inspector is being paid by someone else or not paid until closing, the inspector might underemphasize any problems with the home.
You may be able to negotiate with the seller or cancel the sale based on the inspection
If repairs are needed, you may want to negotiate with the seller about who should make or pay for the repairs. Depending on the terms of your purchase contract and local market conditions, the seller may or may not agree to pay for the repairs. If your purchase contract is contingent on a satisfactory inspection, you have the right to cancel the sale without penalty if you are not satisfied with the results of the inspection.
How to avoid pitfalls
Don’t buy a home without having it thoroughly inspected
Inspections are for your protection.
- If there are serious flaws, such as a cracked foundation, you may decide that you don’t want to buy this particular home after all. If your purchase contract is contingent on a satisfactory inspection, you should be able to cancel the sale without penalty.
- If there are parts of the home that are damaged or worn out, you may want to negotiate with the seller to have these fixed before you move in, or to give you a credit for the cost of the repairs.
Don’t choose a home inspector without checking their history
Depending on your area, home inspectors may not be required to be licensed. Before choosing an inspector, ask for references from prior customers and look up the inspector with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and any state or county licensing authority.