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Smart Home-Buying: Independent Home Inspectors Work For You – Not the Realtor
By Rick Zwierzynski
Who Needs a Inspection Anyway?
Buying a is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime, so you should be sure that the (house, condo, townhouse) you want to buy is in good condition. A inspection is an evaluation of a home’s condition by a trained expert. During an independent inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth and impartial look at the property you plan to buy.
The inspector will:
* Evaluate the physical condition: the structure, construction and mechanical systems.
* Identify items that should be repaired or replaced.
* Estimate the remaining useful life of the major systems (such as electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning), equipment, structure and finishes.
After the inspection is complete, you will receive a written report of the findings from the inspector, usually within 24 hours.
Finding a Qualified Independent Inspector
As the homebuyer, it is your responsibility to carefully select a qualified inspector. I stress that it is “your” responsibility, and not your agent's. After you purchase your new home, your agent will not be responsible for paying the unexpected repair costs that result from non-thorough inspections. Any unexpected repair costs will be your responsibility.
Understanding the Inspector / Realtor Relationship
For your protection, hire an independent inspector, instead of a inspector who is recommended by your real estate agent. Here's why:
Most inspectors solicit real estate agents for work, hoping that the real estate agent will exclusively recommend his inspection services to all the real estate agent's clients. Agents work with many home-buyers throughout the year, and each home-buyer will eventually need a inspection in order to close the sale. So, it originally made sense for an agent to find one or two inspectors that he/she could regularly recommend to clients. However, this Agent / Inspector relationship carries a conflict of interest.
(a)Real Estate Agents make commission when their client buys the home.
(b)A client will only buy if s/he finds the home's condition acceptable (Among other reasons)
(c)So, a negative inspection can stop a sale (and the Agent's commission)
Now, this is not an accusation of any Agents or Inspectors. However, in this relationship, the Inspector may feel stated or unstated pressure from the Agent. There may be pressure to deliver positive inspection reports or the agent may pressure the inspector to produce inspection reports in less time at the expense of performing a more thorough inspection. After all, the Agent could easily replace the Inspector with another who may write more lenient reports. To be honest, there are many other Inspectors who would line up to get a steady flow of new clients from the Agent.
The Bottom Line: Spending Hundreds May Save Thousands
When you make a written offer on a home, you should insist that the contract state that the offer is contingent on a inspection conducted by a qualified independent inspector of your choice. Independent inspectors are hired by you, and they do not have a relationship with the real esate agent. Hiring a qualified independent inspector could keep you from buying a house that will cost you many thousands of dollars in repairs down the road. Only after the independent inspection is complete and you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, your real estate purchase offer can proceed.
Richard Zwierzynski is an independent home inspector offering professional home inspection services in the Chicagoland area. Home buyers can find more resources applicable to any real estate market at his website http://www.realestateinspectorsgroup.com
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