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Once you put down a good faith deposit and sign a purchase contract, you have the right to do due diligence, including getting various home inspections. You do have to pay for these inspections yourself unless you agree with the seller that the seller pays for the inspections. However, it is rare that a seller pays for inspections. These costs are also out-of-pocket costs. Before you go through with the purchase, you should do several inspections and other due diligence. It doesn’t matter in which order you do the inspections, but having a general inspection first could save you from paying for other inspections if the general inspection turns up a problem that is a deal-breaker.

General Inspection

When you hire a company for a general inspection, make sure the company is reputable and has good reviews. The inspector will look at the electrical, plumbing, the structure of the house, the attic and, if your house has a basement, which is extremely rare in Florida, the basement. The inspector also checks the crawlspace. They check for leaks and wood-destroying organisms. The inspector also checks for other minor imperfections, such as holes in screens. If the electric and water are not on, the inspector cannot check for electrical issues and plumbing leaks, including whether the HVAC system works.

For any defects that could be deal-breakers, get a quote on how much to repair the defect. You can offer to take care of the problem yourself in exchange for a discount on the price, or you could ask the seller to fix the problem. If the seller refuses either option, you can back out of the contract and get your good faith money back as long as a satisfactory inspection is an exception.

Termite Inspection

If the general inspector sees signs of termites, they will let you know and will advise that you get a termite inspection. Even if the general inspector does not see signs, you should get a termite inspection, as those inspectors are trained to locate wood-destroying organisms. If the termite inspector finds signs of termite or other wood-destroying organisms and you still want to buy the house, get a quote from the inspector or another company for the cost of repairing the damage and tenting the house. Again, if the seller doesn’t want to cover the cost of the repairs and the eradication of the bugs, you can back out of the contract and get your good faith money back as long as you have the exception for passing a termite inspection in the purchase contract.

Additional Due Diligence

After doing the appropriate inspections and amending the purchase contract — if needed — you should have a surveyor survey the property to ensure the boundary lines are where the seller said they are. Your loan company will also require an appraisal, though the loan company will pick the appraiser. If the survey does not match fencing or other markers, make sure there are no objections with the neighbors for the surveyor to move the markers for the neighbors to move their fence.

If the appraisal is not satisfactory, your lender might ask for additional money down or might deny the loan. You might be able to get your good faith money back if you cannot get the loan.

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Getting a professional inspection is one of the most important parts of closing on a home. An inspection can save you endless time and money if it catches repairs that need to be made, and it can draw your attention to any problems that could be dangerous to you and your family.

Many buyers, especially those who are buying a home for the first time, aren’t sure what to expect during a home inspection. They might have questions that they’re afraid to ask the inspector, or they might feel like they should be asking questions but don’t know the right ones to ask.

In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on the home inspection process. We’ll explain how to get started, what to expect on inspection day, and what to do with your findings.

Contingency clauses

Before closing on a home, it’s important to make sure your offer involves a contingency clause, otherwise known as a “due diligence contingency.” This section of your contract gives you the right to perform a home inspection within a given number of days.

Sellers may inform you that they have recently had the home inspected and even offer to show you the results of the inspection. However, it is best practice to have your own inspection performed with a trusted professional.

After your offer is accepted, you should begin calling and getting quotes from inspectors immediately.

Before the inspection

Once you’ve considered your options of inspectors and chosen an inspector, it’s time to schedule your inspection. Both you and your real estate agent should attend the inspection.

You’ll both have the opportunity to ask questions. However, it’s a good idea to write down your minor questions and ask them before or after the inspection so that the professional you’ve hired is able to focus on their work to do the best possible job inspecting your future home.

During the inspection

The inspection itself is pretty straightforward. Your inspector will examine the exterior and interior of your home, including several vital components and then will provide you with a report of their findings.

They will inform you of repairs that need to be made now, parts of the home that should be monitored for future repairs, and anything that poses a safety concern to you and your family.

The parts of your home the inspector will review include:

  • Roof

  • Exterior Walls

  • Foundation

  • Garage

  • Land grading

  • Plumbing

  • Electrical

  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning

  • Appliances

There are some things your inspection won’t include. For example, mold, termite damage, and other issues that aren’t easily observable without causing damage might be missed by your inspector and will require a specialist.

After the inspection

Once the inspection is complete, you will have the chance to ask any remaining questions. You can review the findings of your inspection report and make decisions about how you want to handle any repairs that need to be made.

You may choose to ask the seller to make the repairs noted in your inspection report. If they refuse, you can withdraw from your contract at any time.


Ultimately, the choice will be yours what to do with the findings from the inspection. But having one can save you immeasurable money on impending repairs that you may not have been aware of.

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