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Home Inspection Checklist for Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

Home inspections are a must for any real estate transaction. Armed with a home inspection checklist, a professional home inspector does more than merely give the property a once over. Do you know what you’re in for?

Home Inspections Benefit Real Estate Buyers

Much like a used car, a used house or condo might have you buying someone else’s nightmare. A home inspector can give you peace of mind and a graceful way of bowing out of a transaction that suddenly threatens to have you living in a money pit. Even if you see a few red flags on the home inspection checklist, you might still decide to go ahead with the purchase, albeit with a sober assessment of potential problems. Moreover, in the aftermath of the inspection, home sellers might be more amiable to offering you some monetary incentives to continue with the deal!

What the Home Inspection Does for the Real Estate Seller

The visit of the home inspector does not just offer benefits to the buyer; sellers also stand to profit from home inspections. Sellers, who are not sure if they are offering their home at a competitive price, have the opportunity to let a home inspector point out deal killers and price droppers. Fixing them ahead of listing the home might have great financial rewards.

The Home Inspector Always Rings Twice

Well, not really; but s/he might, if s/he wants to see if the doorbell actually works! The National Association of Home Inspectors suggests a home inspection checklist that includes the foundation, exterior walls, the roof and associated hardware, the attic and basement, the garage, an evaluation of the insulation used and the electrical system, a visual assessment of the plumbing, and an overall impression of the home’s interior and its heating and cooling systems. Depending on the scope of any problems the home inspector might encounter or suspect, s/he may expand this home inspection checklist considerably in some areas.

Home Inspection Limitations You Must Know and Accept

Even though the home inspector follows a home inspection checklist, s/he will not start moving furniture to do so. Professionals will be cautious to diagnose termite damage and instead strongly urge you to call in a professional exterminator if wood damage is observed or suspected. Sprinkler systems are usually not an item home inspectors evaluate; if problems with the setup are glaringly obvious, s/he might add a recommendation to have the system checked out by a plumber.

Some home inspectors come armed with a radon detector and a moisture meter; note that these tools are not required. Home inspection companies may charge extra for these services, so make sure you ask ahead of time what all is included in your home inspection. Last but not least, the home inspection will not include a property survey; if it is hard to determine the property line, call in a surveyor instead. When all is said and done, expect to receive a written report that outlines all of the home inspector’s findings.


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