How Home Inspections Can Help a Buyer

Buyers, What Are You Waiting For?

Recently, the inventory of homes for sale has grown to an all-time high. As a result home prices have declined in many major markets for the first time in almost a decade. Many home buyers are holding out, assuming that they will get a better deal down the road, but savvy buyers are not waiting. They're finding ways to negotiate good deals now.

Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of HouseMaster, one of the most experienced national home inspection organizations in North America, suggests that smart buyers are using the home inspection to further negotiate the price of a home if needed repairs are found. "Smart home buyers understand that the listing price is not necessarily the seller's bottom line. Buyers can leverage the findings of a credible home inspection to further negotiate the price of the home..

The home inspection is generally performed shortly after a bid has been accepted or a contract has been signed. Kuhn explains, "A qualified home inspector will perform a visual evaluation of all the major systems ? including electrical, plumbing, heating or cooling ? as well as visible structural elements, roofing and drainage. Areas of concerns are then documented..

If a serious condition or defect is found, the home buyer can discuss it with the real estate agent and seller, and negotiate the cost of repair or replacement against the home's list price. HouseMaster research has shown that 40 percent of resale homes have a serious defect that will cost at least $500 to $1000 to repair or replace.

However, Kuhn points out that a home inspection is not designed solely to be a to-do list for the home seller, and a good home inspector will not only alert a buyer if any defects exist, but will also make note of the home's good aspects. If the home meets expectations, then the buyer can move forward with confidence. If not, a buyer can choose to negotiate further. Either way, they win. So buyers who have been standing on the sidelines waiting for some magic sign to tell them that home prices are as low as they will go, should ask themselves what they're really waiting for. Some buyers wait for opportunities; others make them happen.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at

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