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5 basics to help with your property inspection decisions

Wendy Cutrufelli
Mortgage Banking

Buyers often have many questions about property inspections when purchasing a home. The inspection process can be stressful and seem daunting. I try to keep it simple with these five thoughts about inspections:

  • You decide which inspections you want.
  • You pay for the inspections.
  • If you forego inspections, you risk having to pay for problems that show up after close.
  • If an inspection finds problems, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to share the costs of repairs.
  • You can choose your inspectors.

Man in red T-shirt inspecting a white wall, as seen through an ornate white-framed mirror.As the prospective buyer, it is up to you to decide what types of inspections you want conducted on a home. Your real estate agent will likely suggest specific property inspections and give a cost of each. I recommend that you ask for additional inspections if you have concerns about the property that aren’t covered by any inspections your agent proposes. If the house is older or is in need of work, you’ll probably want additional inspections. But don’t neglect inspections just because a home has been recently remodeled.

The buyer usually pays the cost of inspections unless the seller agrees to pay for some of the inspections as part of the purchase contract. The costs of property inspections vary depending numerous factors, including the location and size of the property.

The order in which you conduct the inspections is an important consideration. Typically, a home inspection is first because it provides an overview of the entire home. The home inspection can put some concerns to rest or reveal the need for additional inspections.

Keep in mind that not getting inspections can be costly if problems arise after you close on a purchase. Also, if an inspection finds problems, you can ask the seller to pay for all or some of the needed repairs. In the negotiating process, it never hurts to ask.

Finally, one thing many buyers don’t realize is that they can choose their own inspectors – even if the seller provided a package of inspections and disclosures for your review prior to writing the purchase contract. Your real estate agent will have a number of inspectors to choose from. But you’re paying for them, so you have a right to select your own, if you prefer.

When selecting an inspector, remember:

1. You shouldn’t let price be the determining factor in choosing an inspector. You’re investing a lot of money in your home, so make sure you invest in quality inspections.

2. Ask questions before you hire an inspector. How long has the inspector been in business? Ask for references. Ask to see samples of past inspection reports. Make sure the inspector has proper insurance. You won’t have time to do this once you are in contract, so take the time to check references and view reports while you are house-hunting.

3. I encourage people to find home inspectors who are members of a state or national professional inspection organization, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors, the National Association of Home Inspectors, or the California Real Estate Inspection Association. These organizations provide education and training for home inspectors, as well as helpful information for real estate agents and home buyers and sellers.


Want to learn more? You can use the Bank of the West site to find a local mortgage banker and check rates.

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