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Buying a Home: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner

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Chapter 12. Inspect the Property

Your prospective new home looked great when you toured it with your agent, but you don’t know what problems are hiding, waiting to jump out and yell, “Surprise!” once you move in. According to HouseMaster, a home inspection franchiser, a study of more than 2,000 home inspection reports found that 40 percent of inspected homes had at least one major defect that would cost several hundred to several thousand dollars to repair. Most problems arose in roofs, electrical systems, plumbing systems, central heating and cooling systems, insulation, and the home’s structure. That’s a long list of potential gotchas—and most homebuyers wouldn’t begin to know how to search for them. That’s why, before any money changes hands, you need an expert to evaluate these systems (and others). That’s the role of your home inspector.

You probably put a home inspection contingency (Contingencies) in your purchase agreement. Now, it’s time to get that inspection done. This chapter walks you through a typical home inspection, showing you, step-by-step, what a home inspector looks for. It also offers advice on finding a good home inspector and a list of specialized inspections you might want to have done. The last section tells you how to address any problems that come up (and they will—there’s no such thing as a perfect home).

What a Home Inspector Does

A professional home inspector usually has a background in construction, engineering, or both. He gives your house a thorough ...

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