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Get a home inspection before buying a home

[Feb 24, 2011.]


A thorough inspection of any home you plan to buy is important. Hiring a qualified inspector can alert you to any major problems, and may even cause you to rethink getting a mortgage loan to buy it.

Getting a mortgage loan

While many mortgage lenders don't require a home inspection, they may require a termite inspection. Over time, a home infested with termites or other pests can suffer serious structural damage. If a property shows evidence of termites, you may still qualify for a home mortgage if the problem has been corrected.

A septic system may also need inspection as part of the mortgage approval process.

Inspection checklist

While you need to rely on the home inspector's expertise, it's a good idea to become familiar with the types of things he or she will look for during the process. The home's exterior should be examined from top to bottom. That means that the inspector should get up on the roof to check the shingles, chimney and gutters. Other areas in need of examination are the paint, the siding, the caulking around doors and windows, and how close plants and trees are to the home.

When the inspector moves inside, there should be a thorough check of the electrical system to make upgrades are not needed. If you find the electrical system needs to be upgraded, you'll likely need a permit. The plumbing, heating system and air conditioning system should all be examined. Your inspector may also look at how well the home is insulated and make energy efficiency recommendations.

The offer to buy a home

You should always make an offer to buy a property contingent on the inspection. Don't be tempted to skip this step to speed up the process because it can come back to haunt you and end up costing a lot of money. Look for a home inspector who is certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors.


About Author:

Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.

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