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Buying a House? 6 Inspections You Should Consider Getting

Buying a home is probably the most money you’ll spend on one purchase in your life. Protect your investment by learning why you need an inspection and what you should have examined that falls outside of a general home buying inspection.
Buying a home is probably the most money you’ll spend on one purchase in your life. Protect your investment by learning why you need an inspection and what you should have examined that falls outside of a general home buying inspection.

If you think you’ve found your perfect home, chances are good there are things about the house that make it not so perfect. A professional home inspection can uncover problems before you move in. It’s better to spend the $500 or so on an inspection now than finding out six months later your foundation is collapsing.

Since buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, you’ll want to protect your investment by having a home inspection completed. Here are six inspections you should consider getting before you sit down at the closing table.

General Inspection

A general inspection covers the home’s basic features. Inspectors will check the plumbing, look at the roof, inspect the exterior of the heating and cooling system, check the insulation in the basement and attic, inspect the home’s exterior, and examine the home’s interior.

However, a general inspection doesn’t cover a complete assessment of the home. For example, inspectors won’t check any electrical wires or plumbing inside of walls, examine detached garages, or test for any environmental hazards. A general inspection also doesn’t cover any appliances, swimming pools, sprinkler systems, or sheds.

HVAC

If you want to dig deeper into the condition of the home’s heating and cooling system, which is highly recommended in hot and cold climates, you’ll need an HVAC technician to inspect the inside. A general inspection only covers the exterior. An expert will determine the system’s health and how long before you may need to replace the entire system.

Termites/Wood-Destroying Pests

You’ll need an additional inspection to check for any infestation of wood-destroying pests. A general inspection doesn’t include examining a home for termites or beetles. The only way to find out if the home you want to buy has any structural damage is to have it thoroughly inspected by a certified professional. Traditionally, a pest inspection costs around $100 to $125.

Radon/Asbestos

You’ll want to know if your future home has any cancer-causing toxins. Radon and asbestos are the two most common environmental hazards found in homes, especially older homes. You’ll need additional tests conducted outside of a general inspection, and they usually range from $25 to $50.

Also, testing for environmental hazards includes a test for any evidence of lead-based paint. The majority of houses built before 1978 (the use of this paint was banned that year) were painted with lead-based paint. When this paint becomes airborne, it is known to cause serious health problems.

Water Inspection

Although general inspectors will check the condition of any outer water pipes, they won’t inspect any pipes buried underground. Again, you’ll need an additional inspection. Also, if the home has a well for water and septic tank, you must have them both inspected. Expect to pay around $150 to $200.

Foundation Inspection

You can have a structural engineer inspect the home’s foundation, but you probably only need one if your general home inspector notes any problems. If you have any concerns about obvious cracks in the foundation, make sure to bring it to the inspector’s attention. If you decide to have an engineer inspect it, expect to pay $300 to $400.

The Bottom Line on Home Inspections

A thorough home inspection can actually give you more room to negotiate with the seller. For example, if the inspection uncovers problems, you can negotiate with the seller to pay at or near the sales price contingent upon fixing those problems.

If the seller is unwilling to fix the problems, you can negotiate to have those costs removed from the sales price. However, you can’t roll the cost of repairs into your loan amount like you can with the final closing costs such as mortgage fees and settlement costs.

Why You Need an Agent

If you’re trying to buy a house without the help of an agent, you could encounter some “surprises” down the road. An experienced agent will make sure your dream house doesn’t turn into a lemon.

Remember, a house is more than a place to live, it’s an investment. You must protect it by connecting with one of our top-rated Clever Partner Agents.

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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