Buyer Beware: Home Inspections

A home is typically the most expensive purchase a person will ever make. Because of this, as much as you may like that property you recently found, it’s critical to get it inspected before finalizing the deal. An inspection gives you an idea of the home’s physical condition, including the plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic space, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, tank and structural components.


A home inspection addresses what needs to be repaired now and what might need to be repaired in the future. If you have a property inspected before signing a contract, you might be able to negotiate a lower price that reflects the inspection’s findings. Simply because a house needs repairs does not mean you shouldn’t buy it. The buyer must decide how much to spend and how much work he or she is willing to do after the purchase.


Home inspections do not cover everything, though. Inspectors are not required to identify conditions that are hidden or could be considered latent defects. They don’t have to move personal property, plants, or debris to inspect an item, and they are not liable if they miss something. Inspectors also don’t have to evaluate systems that are not easily accessible, they do not have to note whether termites or mold are present and they do not assess for zoning or planning code compliance.


It’s not possible to know everything about a house before buying it, but an inspection should give you a good idea about its condition. The cost of a home inspection is typically based on the size and complexity of the property but that money spent could mean fewer negotiations and surprises, a lower sales price, better knowledge of the property, a decrease in the likelihood of litigation for improper disclosure and an increased chance of closing the deal.