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Should you get a home inspection after your offer is accepted? You're not just buying that beautiful master suite or stone-lined fireplace, "You're also buying any problems lurking in the walls, crawl space or the attic," says home inspector, Bill Loden, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).  The home inspection is your chance to avoid those problems or, at least, use the results to negotiate with the seller to pay for repairs.

A typical inspection starts at the roof and ends at the foundation with stops in between at every major house system (plumbing, electrical, heating and septic etc).  Most, also include tests for radon gas and water safety.  A good inspection, by a professional inspector to the standards set by the American Society of Home Inspectors, costs about $500 and takes two to three hours, depending on the size and the age of the house.  Oh, and don't skip inspections on new construction.  Just because something is new doesn't mean it's flawless.  

After you receive the detailed findings, you'll need to evaluate whether there are any deal-breakers such as serious structural defects.  You may want to handle minor fixes yourself to avoid nitpicking with the seller.  For cases in between, water-damaged carpet, for example, consult with your agent.  You can ask the seller to pay for repairs or give you credit at closing so that you can choose the contractors and materials you prefer.  So, should you do a home inspection?  The answer is, ABSOLUTELY!!

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