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Buying a Home? Here's What to Know About the Home Inspection Process

What Happens at a Home InspectionFor many households today, the purchase of a home is likely to be the biggest investment made during their lifetime. Because of this fact, it is important for buyers to make sure they are getting a good value for the money they spend. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is for home buyers to make their offer to purchase contingent upon the results of a professional home inspection performed by a qualified inspector. But it is important to also remember that there are no perfect homes, so it can be helpful for buyers to understand some key points about the home inspection process before they begin.

The Inspector is as Important as the Inspection

Since the choice of a home inspector is up to the buyers, it is important that they choose an inspector who is properly trained and licensed for the job. While it may be tempting to save money on the inspection process by having a friend or relative in the construction industry do it, this option will make it difficult to negotiate needed repairs later with sellers who will certainly question the findings and authority of a unlicensed home inspection. 

In addition to making sure that any home inspector buyers are planning to use is properly licensed, buyers should also take time to speak to them about the way they perform the inspection process, as well as the cost, what will be covered in the inspection, and the type of report that will be issued after the inspection is completed. 

Attend Inspections In Person, if Possible

A home inspection, even one that fails to find any serious issues with the home, can be an excellent educational process for the buyers. Buyers should choose an inspector who encourages them to be present and who is willing to answer questions and help them learn about how the home they are buying was constructed and how it will need to be maintained. Even if it will take a while to drive to the inspection for the downtown Chicago listing you're interested in, it's still worth it.

Buyers who attend their home inspection process, however, should understand that the home inspection may not cover some areas or potential issues, such as septic tanks and pest infestation problems. These areas will require a separate, industry-specific inspection.

The Role of a Home Inspector

During the home inspection, a home inspector will usually be happy to discuss any repair issues found. They will not, however, be able to offer home buyers advice on finding the right contractor to make the repair, what the repair will likely cost, or how to negotiate with the seller. 

Instead, buyers should expect home inspectors to show them the repair issue and offer an opinion on what may have caused the problem. 

Don't Overburden the Seller With Repair Requests

Home inspection reports include every issue that the home inspector sees when inspecting the home, some of which will be very minor or merely a cosmetic issue. Buyers who want to negotiate successfully with sellers should not expect them to address every item on the list – especially in popular real estate markets like Central Station. Instead, buyers should focus on only the ones that will be expensive to repair or those that are are a concern for safety or structural integrity issues. 

To find out more about the home inspection process, buyers should discuss the matter with their real estate professional. Their agent will be able to help them locate a list of qualified inspectors to choose from and help them understand what to expect at every step of the process. 

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