These homes are often abandoned and neglected, leaving them with much more potential for unforeseen structural defects, plumbing, electrical, heating systems, environmental issues and many other problems. Fixing these woes can cost far more than the financial savings from a distressed property purchase. There also may be unknown defects, such as mold or radon, that could affect your family's health and safety.
Still, it is possible to get a dream deal on a distressed home. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to have the house thoroughly inspected by a professional, so you can reduce these potential risks as well as financial costs. A home inspector can help you identify potential problems in the home you're considering buying, so you know in advance what you're getting into - and what you should walk away from.
There are many ways to find a home inspector, including consulting family, friends, your attorney, real estate professional or mortgage professional. You can also find information on inspectors across the country on www.ashi.org, the Web site of The American Society of Home Inspectors, the organization that sets the standards of practice for the inspection industry.
Homebuyers aren't the only ones who can benefit from a home inspection. If you're selling your home, having it inspected before you list it may help sell your home in less time and for more money. Moreover, homeowners can benefit from maintenance inspections, such as an energy inspection, which can help reduce monthly energy costs, and a home safety inspection that can help seniors stay in their homes longer.
If you're thinking of hiring a home inspector, ASHI offers a few tips on how to evaluate candidates:
* Visit the "Find a Home Inspector" section of ASHI's Web site to find a qualified ASHI inspector in your area. Many inspectors also list their specialties and other background information, such as their experience, on this site.
* Ask the inspector how he operates. What format will the report be in? Ask for sample reports.
* Talk with each candidate to see who is the best fit for your needs and comfort, as well as for the property being inspected.
* Check all references. Don't automatically go with the lowest price. Remember, the old adage is often true - you get what you pay for.
* Attend the inspection to ensure you get the best value - and most information - for your investment.
A home inspector can be your best ally in ensuring your dream deal doesn't turn into a nightmare.
Courtesy of ARAcontent