At a time when more and more buyers are choosing to purchase distressed or foreclosed properties, it’s very important that home inspections become an integral part of the buying process. In fact, I tell all of my customers that no matter how well maintained any property may seem, a home inspection is the only sure way of knowing the exact condition of the property being purchased. And, I provide my clients with the names of at least three certified inspectors with whom I have worked, so they can choose one for the task.

Certified inspectors should be members of the American Society of Home Inspectors, an industry association which ensures a set of standards by which inspectors work. More recently, this association has gone so far as to create a “Client Bill of Rights” to shift the focus from the inspector to the client, promising to uphold the highest standards and conduct a thorough and unbiased evaluation of the home. This means they will inspect to the best of their knowledge, they will not disclose inspection results without client approval, they will not accept compensation for recommending contractors, services or products, and that they are not conducting an inspection for the realtor’s benefit or for compensation from anyone other than the client. Inspectors will provide a buyer with a written report including
recommendations for action. This report, in turn, protects a buyer from making a purchase with excessively inherent costs and allows a buyer to back away from the deal without losing any of the escrow.

An inspection costs a few hundred dollars, depending on the size and age of the home, but it’s money well spent for buyers to understand the true condition of the property and the amount of work it might take to fix it. Ultimately, it means a good night’s sleep for those who know there won’t be any surprises. To buy or not to buy? Only your inspector knows for sure.

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