After you've signed the contract and paid earnest money, you have a narrow window of time to get the house appraised and inspected.
Your realtor can recommend several good home inspectors, who will thoroughly examine all the house's structural systems and give you a written report detailing any problems found. The inspection takes at least two hours, and you should be on hand so the inspector can show and explain problems to you that might be harder to understand if the only information you got was from the written report.
If a radon test isn’t included among the home inspector’s services, you should think about including a radon test. Again, plan on attending the inspection. Radon can be easy to mitigate, but you’ll want to ask questions about methods.
Other types of inspections are mold testing, lead based paint, roof, mechcanicals and soil tests.
If the home inspection uncovers problems, you have a number of options.
If problems that show up in the home inspection make you rethink your offer, your options are several. First, though, call licensed contractors and get an estimate on how much repairs will cost, so you have an idea of what’s at stake in your negotiations.
Some options to talk through with your buyer’s agent:
A good buyer’s agent like Robin Guernsey can advise you about the pros and cons of each and negotiate for you.