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Home inspector key to uncovering issues

So, you just put in an offer on a home, and it was accepted. What comes next?

Most offers are made contingent on the outcome of the home inspection. It’s time to hire a home inspector. The real estate agent you are working with can give you recommendations, or you can choose your own. When interviewing a home inspector, ask them: 1) How long have they been in the business? 2) What is their fee for the inspection? 3) What do they check? And 4) How soon will I receive my report after the inspection?

Once you hire a home inspector, they will review the property disclosure for your home that lists any flaws of which the seller is aware. The disclosure covers the presence of mold, pests, water damage, roof leaks or foundation issues.

When performing an inspection, home inspectors have three tasks: Identifying problems they see, suggesting fixes and giving a written report with photos depicting the issues they found. Inspectors are looking at things that can be seen with the naked eye. They are there to do a basic check and inspection of the home’s major components.

So, what specifically do they check? They will check the structure of the home, framing and foundation. On the home’s exterior, they will check things such as steps, sidewalks, driveway, windows, gutters and siding.

The home’s roof also will be inspected to look for rot, loose or missing shingles, and to determine the estimated life left on the current roof. The home’s plumbing and electrical systems are checked to see if they are up to code and functioning properly. The home’s HVAC system is checked to see if there is adequate airflow and will note the age of both the furnace and air conditioner.

They also will check for appropriate ventilation and insulation and any indication of mold or pest infestation. Keep in mind that they are only there to do a basic inspection. They will let you know if anything they find warrants a more specialized inspection. Things they don’t inspect are well and septic systems and swimming pools.

After the inspection is complete, the home inspector will usually provide a report to you within 24 hours. You can always expect some flaws with the property you are purchasing, even homes that are deemed “turnkey.” Of course, you hope for only minor issues that can be fixed at a low cost or for there to be flaws you can live with.

In the event there are larger issues with your home, your real estate agent may advise you to renegotiate the deal. Either have the seller make repairs or have the seller compensate you for repairing it yourself. If a reasonable agreement can’t be reached, you do have the option of backing out of the offer before the contingency date listed on your purchase agreement.

In conclusion, a home purchase will be one of the biggest purchases you make in your lifetime. A home inspection is a snapshot of all your home’s important systems and components. It enables you to make an informed decision in the home buying process and helps protect you financially in the long run. So, if purchasing a home, get a home inspection. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Marlin Palich is president of Stark Trumbull Area Realtors, which serves Stark, Carroll and Trumbull counties.

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