The Inspection

Most buyers get the name of their inspector from their Realtor. Most Realtors have only one or two inspectors that they recommend to their clients. These inspectors know that if they routinely find problems that prevent a sale from occurring the Realtor doesn't get paid and has to begin anew to find the buyer a home. If this happens often enough do you think some Realtors might start recommending an inspector who isn't quite so thorough? Can you see where a conflict may exist?

Do not get your inspector from your Realtor. You want your inspector to be loyal to you and you alone. This is your single best opportunity to find out about problems with the home. Interview your inspector thoroughly. Make sure he or she is qualified and ask for references. If you want to be extra careful, insist that you be permitted to hire two separate inspectors to visit the home on two separate occasions.

An inspection typically costs around $100. The little extra money is well worth it if the second inspector finds even one problem the first one missed. Also, read the contract the inspector wants you to sign. Some inspectors try to get you to sign contracts that limit their liability for failing to discover observable defects to the cost of the inspection, even if their negligence may cost you thousands of dollars, or they may force you to agree to arbitrate disputes and take away your right to sue. By agreeing to such clauses you are freeing the inspector from taking responsibility for performing a thorough inspection and limiting your legal recourse if you find out he missed obvious flaws in the property.