Guidelines for Your First Home Inspection

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Real Estate

Purchasing a house can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when it comes to home inspection. However, it is necessary to ensure that you’re not buying a property that will require expensive repairs in the future. Here are some tips to help you navigate through your first home inspection.

Buying your first home can be overwhelming as it involves significant financial decisions and dealing with unfamiliar terminologies. Additionally, you need to consider the condition of the property before you can make it yours. This is where a good home inspector comes in handy. They can help you determine whether the foundation is sturdy, if the roof leaks, whether the rear deck is up to code, and if the wiring needs attention. Below are some tips to help you find the right home inspector and streamline the inspection process.

Finding an Inspector

The best way to find a reliable home inspector is to ask for recommendations from your real estate agent or lending officer. However, you should not feel obligated to use their preferred inspector. You can also ask trusted friends and family members who have recently worked with a home inspector. It’s advisable to ask people in the same area as the property you’re interested in. If you can’t get any referrals, you can search for certified inspectors on your state housing authority’s website.

Ask Questions

Once you find a potential home inspector, you should ask several questions. For example, you should ask about the cost of the inspection and what it covers. You can also inquire about payment options and the duration it takes to receive the report. Scheduling is also crucial, and you should ensure that the inspection is scheduled at a time that won’t jeopardize your purchase. Ensure that the inspector is certified to work in the residential sector and ask for references before making a final decision.

Identify Your Deal-breakers

It is advisable to accompany the inspector during the inspection process, but it is better to avoid getting in the way and hold your questions until the inspection is over. During the inspection, you will receive an overview, and a detailed report will follow. Before the inspection, you should have a rough idea of how much money you can allocate towards home repairs to avoid getting stuck in a tight spot when you discover that the roof needs replacing. Set a limit on the amount of money you are willing to spend on fixing the problem areas. Repairs to wiring and plumbing can be expensive and unpleasant, as is the case with structural work. If you need a support beam or minor bathroom plumbing repaired, it may be within your budget or a DIY project. However, if the entire house is leaning three feet downhill or if there are flooding issues in the basement, you may want to reconsider before making a commitment.

Additional Information

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  • How Mortgages Work
  • How Subprime Mortgages Work


  • “Finding a Qualified Home Inspector.”, 2010
  • Surina, Echo. “What are the dealbreakers of a home inspection?”, 2010.
  • “Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector.”, 2010.


1. What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough examination of a property’s physical condition and systems, including the foundation, roof, plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems. The purpose of a home inspection is to identify any defects or issues that may need to be addressed before purchasing the property.

2. Do I need a home inspection?

While a home inspection is not required by law, it is highly recommended. A home is a significant investment, and a home inspection can help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase or negotiate repairs or a lower price.

3. How do I find a reputable home inspector?

Ask for referrals from friends, family, or your real estate agent. Look for a home inspector who is licensed and insured, has experience, and provides a detailed written report.

4. Can I attend the home inspection?

Yes, you should plan to attend the home inspection. This will allow you to ask questions and get a better understanding of any issues that are identified.

5. How long does a home inspection take?

The length of a home inspection will depend on the size and condition of the property. Typically, a home inspection can take 2-4 hours.

6. What should I expect during the home inspection?

The home inspector will examine the property’s exterior and interior, including the roof, foundation, walls, windows, doors, plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems. They will also test appliances and look for evidence of pests.

7. What happens if issues are found during the home inspection?

If issues are found during the home inspection, you can negotiate repairs or a lower price with the seller. Alternatively, you can choose to walk away from the purchase.

8. What is included in the home inspection report?

The home inspection report should include a detailed description of any issues found during the inspection, as well as recommendations for repairs or further evaluation by a specialist.

9. What if the home inspection report is clean?

If the home inspection report is clean, it means that no significant issues were found during the inspection. However, it is still important to keep in mind that the home inspector’s evaluation is limited to what is visible and accessible at the time of the inspection.

10. Can I use the home inspection report to negotiate a lower price?

Yes, you can use the home inspection report to negotiate a lower price with the seller if issues are found during the inspection.

11. What if the seller refuses to make repairs or lower the price?

If the seller refuses to make repairs or lower the price, you will need to decide whether to proceed with the purchase or walk away.

12. What should I do after the home inspection?

After the home inspection, review the report carefully and decide whether to negotiate repairs or a lower price, or proceed with the purchase as-is. Keep in mind that repairs or upgrades may be necessary in the future, regardless of the home inspection report.

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