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Home Inspections
One of the best things you can do for yourself, as a homebuyer is to have a home inspection from a qualified inspector. Before you purchase a home, you should know all you can. While you can walk around, open doors, look under things, and see as much as possible, inspectors are professionals trained to look at things you might not consider relevant. Having a home inspection can save you tremendous heartache and financial strain.

You need to remember that all houses are comprised of multiple components. There is the structural framing, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, heating, the roof and gutters, foundation, and so on. Although the house to you may look to be in excellent condition, you will be amazed at what a home inspector will find. Each item found is one more item that the current owner needs to have fixed before you take ownership of the home.

For example, small cracks inside the fireplace may be found, or a cracked beam in the attic, both things that you would probably not find. Most people look at the carpeting, flooring, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, the bathtub, and even wallpaper and then base their decision on cosmetic only. The home inspector gets into things underneath the surface where real problems exist.

Although you might pay a little more for a qualified home inspector, you can be sure that they will work for you, the buyer. Look for a home inspector that has solid credentials and who is a licensed Professional Engineer, or PE, which is important because this is something regulated by the state. When you work with a home inspector that is not a PE, you could very easily need to have a second inspection, doubling the cost. Additionally, some of the missed items from the first PE may not get included in the list of things the homeowner needs to fix.

Often, your real estate or home lender can recommend a qualified inspector. Otherwise, your best bet would be to choose one listed with the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers, NABIE, or the National Society of Professional Engineers, NSPE. The members are professionals that typically have a long history of home inspection. They are required to meet high standards set by these organizations, which give you more peace of mind in knowing that your inspection will be top quality.

In choosing a home inspector, stay away from inspectors that have certification from a home study course or trade societies. Although they may do an “okay” job, they will not provide the same high quality that you would receive from a PE. You want an inspector that is not afraid to ask the homeowner lots of questions and gets into the small details.

Some aspects that you want the inspector to check that an average inspector may overlook would include decks, porches, patios, sidewalks, driveways, and the grade of the land. A good home inspector will find termite or water damage, electric problems, eroded pipes, and every aspect that could end up costing you a fortune if not found.

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