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Home Inspection Answers

Is a home inspection required to close my transaction?

Some lenders require a home inspection before they will approve a loan. Buyers should demand an inspection - even if the property is new. Sellers, who want to repair any defects that could delay the sale may order a home inspection before they put their property on the market.

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When should the home inspection take place?

A home inspection is ordered after a purchase agreement has been signed and an escrow account has been opened.

If the inspector, who files a general report with the escrow or closing agent, finds a defect in a particular system, a specialist, such as a professional roofer, plumber or electrician will need to be called to make the repairs.

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How much does a home inspection cost?

The cost of an initial home inspection depends on the size and location of the property. General inspections range from $300 to $500.

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Who pays for the home inspection?

The buyer pays for the home inspection as part of the total closing costs, unless a different arrangement has been made between parties before the purchase agreement has been signed.

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What is a home inspection report?

A written report created by a professional home inspector that describes the condition of a property, noting where repairs are needed. If you are in a transaction, the home inspector will provide you with a copy and typically send an additional copy to your settlement agent.

When hiring a home inspector ask about the report format. You'll want one that provides a clear description of each inspected area. You won't get enough information from a report that describes areas as good, fair or poor.

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I'm buying a new home. Do I need a home inspection?

Yes. Even new homes can have problems. And, because property is a major investment, it makes sense to know as much as you can about the property before you buy it.

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Do I need an inspection if I'm buying a condo?

Yes. Knowing the condition of a condo before you buy it is in your best interest. Inspectors should not only check for defects in your unit, they should also check the general condition of common areas and systems (e.g., gas, electrical, roofing, etc).

Because repairs to common areas and systems are paid for by your home owner association (HOA) fees, ask to see the home owner's association maintenance plan. You should also ask to review the association's meeting minutes to learn about maintenance issues and subsequent increases in HOA fees.

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Should I use a certified inspector?

"Certified" doesn’t necessarily mean that an inspector has received specialized training. Some inspectors are considered "certified" if they have paid a membership fee to a home inspection organization.

Your best bet at finding a good inspector is from a referral. Ask neighbors and friends who have recently bought property. Your real estate agent can also help.

If you can't get a referral, contact the home inspection associations that credential their members, such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

Find qualified home inspectors near you

Shop around. Interview potential candidates and ask questions about their work experience. Ask how many inspections they conduct a year and about professional training. If you're not sure, contact the Better Business Bureau before making a final selection.

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