A home inspection typically runs between $400 to $600. That’s a small price to pay to make sure that your new home doesn’t come with any costly surprises. Home inspectors work for the buyer and this makes them an important ally for anyone purchasing a home.

“A licensed home inspector goes through a house to make sure that all of the mechanical systems are in working order, making sure there are not any major problems with leaking, with holes, with cracks… any major structural issues in a house,” says Tina Leonard, Owner of Tina Leonard Real Estate. “In 99-percent of cases it’s the homebuyer who’s going to pay for it.”

While no home purchase actually requires a structural inspection, almost all buyers order one before purchasing a home. Tina says on the rare occasion a seller may also order one to make sure that there are no major issues before they list it.

A home inspection is not a pass or fail. It’s a report of the home’s current condition.

So, when should a buyer ask for a home inspection? It’s important not to ask for one until the contract is signed between the buyer and seller.

“We’ve had it happen before where a buyer jumps the gun and gets a home inspection before a contract is signed and then for some reason the contract never gets signed and then they’re out that money,” remarks Tina. “So that’s why it’s very important to make sure that the contract is a fully signed by both parties before you hire a structural inspection.”

A homebuyer does have several options if the inspection reveals problems. Most contracts contain a structural inspection contingency that states a dollar amount.

 As an example, if there are multiple items listed on the report exceeding $2,5000 to repair then the buyer does not have the obligation to move forward. Their down payment will also be returned.

A seller has options too. They may decide to not fix the issues, address and repair them, or reduce the asking price to help offset the cost of the repairs to the buyer.

“I really feel it’s worth the cost because no matter how good you think a house looks, there may be things that you just can’t tell, you can’t see,” remarks Tina. “It’s to the benefit of the buyer and I do think it’s too bad that more sellers don’t do structural inspections because then they would be aware of some of the smaller issues that might come up and cause a problem.”

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