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Getting Your Home Inspected in California

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

A home inspection is an objective examination of a home's physical structure, roof, appliances, plumbing, heating/cooling system, electrical wiring, and more by a third party. This inspection is not mandatory when purchasing a home. However, I wouldn't buy without it. It gives the buyer the opportunity to become familiar with the home and know what repairs to request of the seller before buying. Even if buying a home "as is", an inspection of a prospective home is a worthwhile investment. If you are considering selling your home, an inspection prior to listing can alert you to and allow you to repair any problem areas that may slow down your home sale or, worse yet, cause a potential buyer to back out of the contract.

Home inspectors have the knowledge and training to provide this service. They understand home construction and proper installation and maintenance of all systems. California does not currently license home inspectors, who take home inspection training courses and are expected to abide by a code of ethics, but does state that home inspectors cannot repair any home within 12 months of their inspection. Many California home inspectors also have construction experience, which can be a real asset.

Use an inspector that is certified by a professional home inspection association, such as American Society of Home Inspectors and/or National Association of Home Inspectors, as these associations guarantee a higher level of training and experience. Remember to choose the home inspector that fits your needs.

A thorough home inspection report provides an impartial opinion of the condition of a home. Fees are paid up-front and directly to the inspector by the buyer, and will vary depending on size, type and age of the home, among other factors. The home inspector will carefully evaluate the home and test utilities and systems. A written report is provided at the conclusion, often with photographs of the inspection results. It is a good idea to be present for the home inspection. A good home inspector will discuss any questions you may have, explain what they are looking for and help you understand how systems function in the home you are purchasing.

Were problems found? Discuss solutions with your Realtor who will request any repairs you want the seller to do on the California Association of Realtors Request To Repair form and submit it to the seller in the proper timeframe.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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