If you are about to purchase your first home, there are several things you need to do. It does not matter if the home is brand new and has never been lived in; get the inspection anyway.

The first and most important thing you need to do is get pre-approved for a mortgage, unless you are fortunate enough to be paying in cash. By getting pre-approved for a mortgage BEFORE you start shopping for a home, you will know how much home you can afford and avoid wasting time looking at homes that are beyond your price range. There is nothing worse than finding the home you like, then applying for the mortgage only to be told you can't afford the house.

The second is to find your perfect home. One piece of advice I can offer here is to look at as many homes as you need to to ensure you get the home that is perfect for you. You are probably making one of the largest purchases of your life so you want to get it right. If you don't like your home after you purchase it, you can't take it back and ask for a refund.

One you find that perfect home, the third and perhaps, the second most important thing to do behind getting a mortgage pre-approval is to get a home inspection. This is one expense in the homebuying process that you do not want to overlook.

A home inspection can help identify those problems that may be hiding deep behind the walls of your potential home. As a buyer, you may be too busy checking out how many bedrooms the home has, how many bathrooms the home has or how large a lot the home is. You may even be too busy thinking about the neighborhood or the school district. You probably aren't looking at the little cracks in the wall or know that there is an electrical issue that could cause your home to burn down.

Spending a few hundred dollars on a home inspection can save you from making a multi-thousand dollar mistake. A home inspection recently saved my over $50,000. I was going to purchase an additional investment property a few weeks ago. Had I not chosen to have a home inspection done before I finalized the purchase, I would have purchased a home with major structural problems.

What are some of the items covered by a home inspection?

Structural: A good inspector will check the foundation of the home to make sure everything is good with the foundation and no major repairs are needed.

Electrical: The home inspector should test of all the electrical outlets to make sure they are properly grounded. He should also check the electrical box and make sure there are no issues there.

Plumbing: The inspector will turn on the faucets and flush the toilets to make sure there are no leaks. He will also check the dishwasher, stove, fridge and garbage disposal to make sure all is working properly. The home inspector can usually estimate the age of the appliance and recommend the remaining useful life.

Roof: A good inspector will get up on the roof of a single family home to check the status of the roofing materials. If your inspector refuses to get on the roof, you may want to find another inspector.

Exterior: The home inspector will check the grading around the home and check the HVAC of the

One the home inspector has completed his assessment of the home, he will provide you with a copy of the report listing all of the things he's found that were issues or could be potential issues. You should received the report as soon as possible since time is of the essence. Once you get the report and review it, you then have to decide which of those items need to be replaced and those that are getting close to the end of their useful life.


  1. Yana // June 11, 2010 at 5:21 PM  

    Thanks for this very good article. I'm going to save it for the home inspection checklist.