Home Inspection Tips When Buying A House

July 15, 2009

Buying a house is never easy and you’ll likely come across some snags during the process. One of the most common problems that can delay closing on a real estate deal is a home inspection full of problems.

Home Inspections

I recommend that everyone get a home inspection.  I thinks its always worth paying for since you want to know exactly what you are getting when you put your signature on a six figure deal.

Home inspections typically cost anywhere from $250 to $500. Most home inspectors can do a termite inspection as well, but they’ll charge a little extra for it. I also recommend inspecting for termites no matter where you are or what type of construction the house is.

If you personally know someone in the real estate business, ask them for a referral for a good, thorough home inspector. Another option is to check out Angies List reviews of local inspectors. There is a small fee for the service but here are some Angies List promo codes.

You must prepare yourself when the inspector comes back with his report. Remember that no house is perfect (even new construction), and some home inspectors take it upon themselves to talk you out of the deal. In a weird way, it’s their job to make you re-think what you are doing. Your job as the homeowner is to analyze what defects are minor and major. Here are some deal breakers:

  • Foundational issues. Is the foundation sinking? Are the footings properly installed? How many cracks are in the foundation?
  • Major termite damage. Unless the seller is willing to pay for the repairs, this damage is costly.
  • Major plumbing or electrical issues that will cause walls and/or floors to be ripped open. Is the plumbing and electrical up to code?
  • Roof issues. Is the roof older than the seller thought? Does it have more wear and tear than its age indicates? A new roof is a big expense for a new homeowner.
  • Major mold growth. If you have over 100 square feet of mold growth in a particular area, or multiple rooms are affected, I would stay away from this property, unless you already planned on ripping out drywall.

You may get the inspection report back with a 100 red flags, but 95 of them might be minor stuff. Make sure you can filter out what is a deal breaker, and what can be fixed easily by you or the seller. Don’t let a home inspection ruin the deal unless there are major red flags like the ones specified above.

Tomorrow we’ll finish out the series on home buying by taking look at closing costs.  You might also want to check out the posts on mortgage pre approval, mortgage interest rates, down payments, and home equity lines of credit.


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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6 Responses to Home Inspection Tips When Buying A House

  • Flora Wells

    This information has been most helpful.

  • Mike

    Before buying a home make sure you get an agent that rewards their buyers with half of the commission, it’s so easy and they give you full service. This could mean up to 1.5% of the purchase price which is a significant savings.

  • Saccha

    We work hard to be able to pay the rent, provide for the family, send the kids to school, and to have something left come retirement age. That is why it is very important that we get what we pay for. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing (house and) lots. After all, these houses are where we will be leaving a legacy to the next generations. Anyway, thank you for your article, it is an interesting and informative read.

    Also, you might be interested to read about certain laws when it comes to land boundaries. The article I stumbled upon talks about whether or not you can claim a piece of land that was accidentally placed under your neighbor’s fence.

  • kevin

    In buying a home, it is very important the buyer should really take a look at the house they are about to buy. Therefore, it is recommended that they get a home inspection. Either by a professional home inspector or someone who has lots of experience building or renovating homes. REALTORS® could provide the buyers of these home inspectors who could easily help them in their home inspection process. Thank You for this very helpful tips!:)

  • William

    Sorry if this is a little off topic but this is for Ted at his request: Anyone entering the home inspection field should be trained in the unique discipline of home inspection. Assuming that the home inspector has been properly trained and has sufficient experience, they should be able to provide a satisfactory detailed inspection of a property within the scope of their education and any home inspector licensing requirements. Where licensing or certification is not a requirement, anyone can claim to be a home inspector, and there are no laws to prevent them from doing so. Basically watch your butt!—————————You’re welcome. William, -the Inspector Guy


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