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7 Reasons You Need an Accurate Home Inspection Before You Buy

For a buyer, an accurate home inspection report can be a forewarning of any major defects in a potential property purchase. Having this information in advance gives buyers the chance to either move on to a different property or negotiate a better purchase price with the seller.
For a buyer, an accurate home inspection report can be a forewarning of any major defects in a potential property purchase. Having this information in advance gives buyers the chance to either move on to a different property or negotiate a better purchase price with the seller.

Home inspections are an integral, if nerve-wracking, part of the property purchase process. In a buyer’s inspection, the person intending to purchase the home contracts a professional inspector to observe and evaluate the property for major and minor defects. The inspector’s findings are subsequently compiled and delivered to the buyer for review. If a home inspection uncovers a serious problem with a property, buyers can use this information to renegotiate the sale price or request reasonable repairs from the seller.

If you’re looking to buy a home, hiring a reliable, experienced property inspector is a great first step to making an informed and financially responsible purchase decision. Here are five things to keep in mind when searching for a home inspector:

  • Can your home inspector provide a reference from a real estate agent?
  • Does the inspector work for a bonded and insured company?
  • Are you allowed to accompany the inspector during the inspection?
  • How many different types of inspections will the inspector carry out?
  • Does the inspector have experience with properties like the contract home?

If you plan on purchasing a house without conducting a home inspection, you’ll be exposing yourself to a range of hidden high-cost repairs and property issues. In particular, a home inspection will bring seven major potential defects to your attention. We’ve listed them below:

Evaluate the Structural Integrity of Frame and Foundations

A structural building assessment is one of the first inspections a home inspector will carry out. This inspection evaluates the stability and overall condition of the property’s foundation, retainer walls, flooring, roofing, windows, and any other attached structures.

Test for Lead-Based Paint

As a federally regulated hazardous material, lead-based paint should be disclosed by the seller prior to an inspection. However, if the paint hasn’t flaked or chipped, homeowners may not even be aware of any lead-based contamination. While testing for lead-based paint, the inspector will also record cosmetic paint damage, such as peeling or discoloration.

Investigate Asbestos and Radon

Sellers are usually required to disclose the presence of asbestos fibers or higher-than-average levels of radon gas. Unfortunately, sellers are not always aware of hazardous materials on their property — and even when the seller is aware of toxic materials, they may attempt to conceal known issues in order to preserve a high sale price.

This is why conducting a home inspection is such an important step in the purchase process. If your home inspector discovers signs of radon or asbestos, you may need to hire a specialty mitigation inspector to review the toxicity level.

Detect Water Damage

Water damage is a relatively common type of household damage. Signs of mold are a telltale sign of water damage. If your home inspector discovers the presence of toxic black mold, most buyer’s agents will advise you to either pursue a steep sale price reduction or back out of the sale entirely.

Identify Termite Presence

If your home inspector suspects a termite presence on the property, you may need to hire a professional pest control agent to conduct a more thorough inspection. When a termite presence is discovered in its early stages, the cost of removing the infestation and repairing any damage is minimal. However, if the infestation is left unchecked, termites can cause extensive damage to the frame and foundations of a property, compromising the home’s structural integrity and rendering it unsafe for habitation.

Address Electrical Wiring Defects

Home inspections also identify malfunctioning electrical systems and verify that a property’s electrical wiring meets the conditions of state code. During a home inspection, the inspector will test the reliability and performance of key electrical systems, including lighting, appliance power points, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. If the property is experiencing frequent blackouts and power surges, the inspector may recommend that the house be rewired.

Uncover Plumbing Issues

The last thing a buyer wants to discover in a newly purchased home is poorly functioning plumbing. A professional home inspection will uncover any underlying problems with a home’s plumbing, from galvanized pipes to backed-up sewage. If you intend to move into a property that requires plumbing maintenance, your buyer’s agent will contact the seller and request prompt repairs for the identified plumbing issues.

Ready to Buy? Reach out to a Local Real Estate Agent!

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or established property investor, partnering with an experienced buyer’s agent gives you access to an expert source of advice and guidance throughout the home buying process. After receiving a home inspection report, a local buyer’s agent can advise you on the best course of action — from negotiating a price reduction to abandoning the sale for a less problematic home. By purchasing your home through a Clever Partner Agent, buyers may also be eligible for a Clever home buyer rebate.




Ben Mizes

Ben Mizes is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save thousands on commission. He's an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed agent in Missouri. Ben enjoys writing about real estate, investing, personal finance, and financial freedom. He's a serial entrepreneur, having run several successful startups before Clever Real Estate. Ben's writing has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Realtor News, CNBC, and BiggerPockets.

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