Purchasing a home is likely one of the most significant investments you will ever make. As such, the expense associated with buying a home can cause people to save money elsewhere. It may seem fruitless to have to pay a home inspector on top of everything else. However, putting some money upfront now can help you avoid significant expenses down the road.

Protect yourself with a contingency clause

You should make the results of a home inspection a contingency in your purchase offer. This can enable you to back out of a deal without penalty should an inspector uncover significant problems with a property.

Things an inspector should look for

You should expect a home inspector to examine the following things:

  • Exterior walls and foundation: Damaged siding, and cracks in the exterior walls or foundation can spell trouble. Roof damage can lead to all sorts of problems. An inspector should also take note if the soil is in close contact with the base of the home. This may point to signs of potential termite or other insect problems.
  • Plumbing: If you’ve never owned a home before, you’ve probably never had the displeasure of paying for plumbing services. They’re not cheap. An inspector can look for visible leaks and test the water pressure. If pipes are visible, an inspector may recommend replacing them if they appear old or are in poor shape.
  • Electrical: You’d be surprised at how many homeowners take on electrical projects by themselves. While they may never have experienced problems, improperly grounded outlets can easily lead to electrical shocks, burns, or even catastrophic fires.

An inspector may also identify improperly installed appliances and take note of other potential issues with the home.

An inspection can provide you with negotiating leverage

If an inspector uncovers problems that will require a significant expense to repair, you can use these findings as leverage during your negotiations. You might ask the homeowner to make these repairs before the sale, or you may ask for money off the asking price to help cover your costs once you close the deal. Of course, you can walk away if you’ve made the results of the inspection contingent on your purchase offer. A skilled legal professional can help you explore your options and provide you with guidance during each stage of the homebuying process.