There are a million-and-one details in purchasing real estate. If you’re in the market for a new home, don’t forget to include a home inspection on your list of priorities before you even think of signing a contract.
Home inspections are so important that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently began instructing lenders to urge all mortgage applicants, at first contact, to hire a licensed home inspector to evaluate desired properties.
HUD added a section on home inspections to its Single Family Housing Policy Handbook, and it also asked the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) to provide buyers with information about why they should get a home inspection along with information on radon-gas testing and other safety and health issues.
The ASHI offers a FAQ page on its website that explains the whys and hows of a thorough inspection.
A home inspection is different than an appraisal. An appraisal is for lenders, while home inspections are for buyers and sellers. An appraisal is intended to estimate the market value of a house; an inspection is an evaluation of a home’s condition by a trained expert.
The value of a home inspection may seem obvious for buyers, but sellers can benefit, too, by learning about potential trouble spots that could lower the sales price if not corrected.
(Illustration: Flickr/Chris Potter)