Before you buy a home, it is important to make sure that it’s structurally sound and there are no major defects with the property (nearly two in five existing homes suffer from some type of major defect, according to the Realty Times). If there’s something seriously wrong with the property, it’s better to know that before the mortgage deal is finalized and this is why smart buyers invest in a home inspection before deciding to proceed to settlement. Not only can a qualified home inspector save you money in the long run, but many banks and other lending institutions require an inspection as part of the home buying process. It is important to do your research on what a home inspection fully entails, so we housesellers have a brief overview for you. 

The first thing you'll need to do is make sure there’s a home inspection contingency in your sales contract, which gives you a specified time period in which to have a professional inspection performed on the property. Then, get a few references from your real estate professional for inspection companies that are bonded and insured--and only do inspections, not home repairs or renovations--then compare what each is charging. Verify that you will be accompanying the inspector once you have learned what the inspection entails and how long it will take. Once the inspection is completed, make sure to get a copy of the report and study it carefully.

Once you’ve reviewed your inspection reports and determined which issues are big and which you can live with, you’ll need to decide if you go through with the deal, renegotiate it or go back to the drawing board. As long as you’re within your contingency period, you’ll have other options to consider as well such as asking for credits toward your closing costs to cover the damages/repairs, asking the seller to make certain repairs or requesting they reduce the asking price by the amount of the repairs or to pay you outright for what needs to be done. If you choose to make repairs to the home, you’ll need to be sure these are completed to your liking. Have your agent schedule a walk-through of the home once the repairs are made so you can check in on the work and keep your closing on track.