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Buying a home may well be the largest financial investment you will ever make. Naturally you will want to know as much as possible about the property before you finalize the purchase at closing.

It's important to hire a knowledgeable, independent home inspector for advice on the overall condition of the property. The purchase contract usually requires specific time periods for each inspection, and it's critical that these time frames be met. Usually the cost for any and all inspections and re-inspections are paid by the Buyer. Prices can range from $350 to $500 for whole-house inspections.

Some examples of common inspections are:

  • Structural - Defects caused by poor construction, soil movement, water or drainage conditions, settlement, fire, etc.
  • Environmental Hazards - Including asbestos, lead-based paint, radon gas or any other toxic material.
  • Roof - Can include framing members, decking and shingle condition.
  • EMP - Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing - Should include electrical and plumbing systems, built-in appliances, heating and cooling systems, swimming pool/spas, sprinkler systems and security systems.
  • Termite - Report would show any visible infestation or visible damage caused by and wood destroying organism (termites, water damage, wood rot).

Many companies specialize in only one area of inspection, and others will group several together and offer a package price. Whichever route you go, assure you're your getting the inspections you need. Many can be found in the yellow pages or your Broker can provide a list of several of each to choose from.