Before You Make an Offer, Inspect the Home

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The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced home inspector to check the house's structure and systems, including the roof, heating, plumbing, electrical and air conditioning systems.

The cost of a home inspection ranges between $250 to $500. If you can, have the home inspected after you agree on a price, but before you sign the contract and put down a deposit. If you are in a rush to go to contract to lock in the deal, make sure your contract states that the terms of the purchase are conditioned on the approval of a professional home inspector.

Just because you need to hire a pro, doesn't mean you can't do some checking around yourself before you make an offer. Check for soft spots in the flooring and look for freshly painted patches on the ceiling or walls that could be hiding water damage. Turn electric switches and water faucets on and off. If it's summer, turn off the air conditioning and turn on the heat to make sure it works. Likewise, if it's winter, test out the air conditioning. Tour the basement looking for water on the floor and see if the hot water heater looks rusted or cracked. A little diligence before you start negotiations could save you a lot of time, effort and disappointment.


Comments (3)

Sara Abbas
Realty Austin - Cedar Park, TX
CNE, CDRS - 512-522-4990

Hi Tim, In my area, it's not really feasible to have the home inspected before it's under contract, although we have an option period for that purpose.  The tips you offered are good ones, and I always recommend that buyers schedule a full home inspection as soon as the contract is signed, whether the home is new construction or resale. 

Jul 20, 2010 05:31 PM
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA - Eureka, CA
Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA

Hi Tim, thanks for the great list for the home shopper.

Jul 20, 2010 05:38 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Tim - It is important for a buyer to inspect the home before buying it. Thanks for the information.

Jul 20, 2010 05:58 PM