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Should a smart buyer get professional inspections for the home s/he is buying?

Definitely! Hiring a professional home inspector can save a great deal of grief for buyers. The one exception would be when the home is new and carries a written warranty by the builder.

Many buyers mistakenly believe that the only reason to have a home inspection is to make sure that the house they are buying does not have defects serious enough to warrant backing out of the transaction. But there is more to it than that.

Certainly, an inspection will usually reveal major problems that may even surprise the seller. The obvious ones are corroded plumbing, antiquated and unsafe electrical, or structural and foundation problems. The discovery of such problems may cause the buyer to re-think his or her offer.

Although a competent inspector can uncover deal-crushing defects, these problems are usually not commonplace. Typically, the seller will already have told the buyer about anything major. More often, inspections reveal less serious problems; problems that may not be serious but can be aggravating.

For instance, there could be a minor electrical defect, or inferior ventilation of a heating system or fireplace. If so, the buyer is usually in the position of having the purchase price reduced, or the defect corrected. More important, it also prevents the minor problem from developing into a major disaster a year or two down the road.

There is, of course, the possibility that the home inspection will produce another outcome: everything is fine. In this case, the buyer gains piece of mind, confident about the major investment s/he is about to make. That, too, is an enormous benefit for the cost of the inspection.

Now, how does a buyer find a home inspector? By asking Berton & Associates, friends, or lender. Inspectors are also listed in the Yellow Pages under "Home Inspection Services." But, a word of advice - do not hire a contractor. Contractors earn their living doing repair and renovation work, so their recommendations aren't likely to be as objective as those of a professional inspector.

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Affiliated Realty
63 Silver Street
Waterville, ME 04901

(207) 873-0751
(207) 8730799 Fax