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The importance of inspection for home buyers

by Jeffrey Hammerberg
One of the most important steps in the home buying process is the building inspection. There are many kinds of professionally licensed inspectors with different specialties and certifications. Some inspectors work for the city and check to ensure that buildings are in compliance with local building safety codes. For instance, some municipalities require that a city inspection be conducted and an occupancy permit issued, before you can move into a dwelling. And if you are building a home, city or county inspectors will issue permits for each phase of the construction project, based on their ongoing supervision of the work.

Other inspectors concentrate on specific issues such as pests or environmental hazards. Mortgage companies usually require a termite inspector, for example, to check the house for termites and issue a “termite certificate” or a clean bill of health, before finalizing a loan. A designated environmental inspector can be hired to report on the presence of any potential problems related to environmental issues such as mold, asbestos, or radon gas.

One of the most important real estate inspections is the one ordered and paid for by the buyer who hires a professional to examine the house for structural and mechanical integrity and safety. Because it can make or break a real estate deal, the buyer-ordered home inspection is vital to the purchase transaction. It is often met with nervousness and anxiety by buyers, especially those who are new to the real estate business and worry that the inspection will stand between them and their dream home. Keep in mind that the inspection is actually a valuable tool for buyers and is intended to help, not hinder, successful real estate transactions. Rather than causing stress, it should provide a greater sense of comfort and reassurance.

Essentially, this building inspector’s responsibility is to go over the house with a fine-toothed comb and examine every nook and cranny, to ensure that everything is working properly. After physically examining the property, the inspector issues a written report of his or her findings and a copy of this report is given to the buyer. In some situations it is advantageous to find an inspector familiar with the particular type of house you are purchasing. For instance, if an inspector is an expert only on new construction and you are buying an historical house that is 150 years old, their area of experience may not be appropriate for your needs. You may want to find someone with a depth of experience related to older buildings and their unique attributes.

Once you have found and hired someone, try to adjust your own schedule so that you can be present and accompany the inspector during the actual examination of the house.Tagging along will help you to make more informed decisions regarding buying the home and can be a wonderful learning opportunity for you as the new owner. A good inspector can teach you how to maintain the house in optimal condition by pointing out specific details about the house, answering questions and giving you professional tips and advice. For instance, the inspector might show you how to change the filters in the air conditioning unit or point out places to check for potential leaks after a thunderstorm — helpful information that you might otherwise never know if you weren’t along for the ride and eager to learn.

Within a few days, the inspector will provide the written report and your real estate broker can explain the findings to the seller. Depending upon the wording of the original contract for purchase, the buyer and seller then exercise their rights and options regarding the outcome of the inspection and any repairs recommended by the inspector.

When dealing with any real estate contract, it is important that you understand what the contract says and what it means. If you aren’t sure, take advantage of the services of an attorney who specializes in real estate law.

Based on the inspection report, the buyer and seller will negotiate for the cost and timetable of any necessary repairs. If the repairs are minor, like fixing a dripping faucet, the buyer might elect to do them later and not worry about negotiating for a cash concession from the seller in order to move the transaction forward without delay. On the other hand, if the inspection reveals that the furnace doesn’t work and a new roof is needed, the buyer may decide to ask for a major reduction in price or to walk away from the deal altogether and look for a house that is in better condition.

Ultimately, as with other negotiations during a real estate purchase, your real estate agent should be able to negotiate on your behalf so that both you and the seller are satisfied in the end, and everyone feels that they are being treated fairly. To find a qualified real estate agent, visit www.gayrealestate.com. The company offers a depth of professional experience in buying homes throughout the entire U.S. and specializes in serving the LGBT community.

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