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So you’ve found your dream house.  You’re ready to make an offer, negotiate a little if necessary, then close the deal and move in.  But what if there are problems with the home that you are unaware of?

A home inspection can alert you to trouble spots that you may not know about.  Most homebuyers simply do not have the extensive knowledge required to find hidden problems or areas of concern.  That is why it is important to have a professional home inspection done before going forward with your purchase.

Too often, buyers confuse a home inspection with a pest inspection.  The pest inspection is required by many lenders before they will lend you the money to buy the home.  But there are many more issues that should be addressed before you close the deal, and a home inspector has the experience and expertise to find most problems or potential problems.

A home inspection usually includes the necessary pest inspection, so you don’t have to hire two separate inspectors.  The inspector will also look for other issues that could affect the structure of the home, such as improper building materials and techniques.  He will check the roof for potential leaks or other problems, and the basement for signs of leakage or weakness.

The home inspector will also look for possible safety issues.  He will test for carbon monoxide and problems that could potentially cause leakage of the gas in the future.  Electrical systems will be checked for functionality and fire hazards.

The inspector will check the plumbing to make sure it works properly, and test the heating and cooling systems.  If there is a private well or septic system, those will also be inspected for proper capacity and functionality.

It is important to know about problems with these things before you consider buying a house.  Problems that are not readily apparent could turn into major nuisances, or even cause serious damage to your home, in a few months or years.  Safety issues might not show themselves until someone has been injured or had a close call.  Knowing about these things ahead of time gives you the opportunity to have them resolved before buying.

You can have a clause added to your purchase offer stating that closing is contingent upon the home passing inspection.   Some, but not all, real estate agents automatically include this.  Making sure it is there gives you the option of negotiating with the buyer to have repairs made or the price lowered, or backing out if necessary.

Having a home inspection done can help you avoid buying a home that needs a lot of work.  Even if you plan to purchase anyway and do the repairs yourself, the inspection can help you decide which repairs are the most important.  A home inspection can save you enough money and trouble to make it well worthwhile.