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by Christy Bieber | Published on Sept. 6, 2022
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Take a good look at that inspection report.
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If you are thinking of making an offer to a seller to purchase their home, you will likely want to make that offer contingent on a successful home inspection. Otherwise, you could find yourself buying a money-pit you have to pay a fortune to fix.
Once you have an accepted offer conditioned on the inspection outcome and you’ve scheduled the inspector to come, you will receive a report detailing what that inspector found when they visited the home. You’ll likely get a multi-page report, and you need to know what to look for within it.
Here are some of the key things you should watch out for when the inspector sends the report your way, and why.
A roof can cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace. And repairing leaks in it can be difficult since it’s often hard to tell exactly where a leak is coming from. A roof leak can also cause all sorts of difficult and expensive problems including mold. That’s why you’ll want to check the inspection report carefully to see if there are any issues with the roof.
If the inspector indicates either an active or past leak, or suggests the roof is nearing the end of its usable life and will soon need to be replaced, this is a major red flag. You’ll want to ask the sellers to make fixes or ensure the price is low enough that you’d be comfortable paying for a new roof in a short time even while covering the costs of your new mortgage loan.
Problems with the heating, cooling, and ventilation system can also be expensive to deal with. A new air conditioner alone could cost thousands to buy and install. So be watchful for a note from the inspector about how old the components of the HVAC system are and how well they work.

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The inspector should note if any of the units are nearing the end of their usable life. If so, consider asking for a replacement from the seller or make sure the house is still priced fairly even when you’ll have to spend thousands to put in a new unit soon.
Inspectors should check for signs of pest infestation. If they find them, this is something that absolutely needs to be addressed. Pests such as termites are more than just annoying — they can do serious damage to the home. You’ll want to make sure the sellers deal with the issue by hiring a qualified exterminator who will take a very close look to see what damage, if any, the pests have done. It’s a good idea to make repairs as soon as possible and eliminate the pest problem.
If the house comes with a swimming pool, you’ll want to be sure there are no unexplained leaks. Leaks can be hard to find and fix, and they could be a sign of more major problems.
Traditionally many home inspectors are not experts at determining if there are pool issues, so you should consider hiring a specialized pool inspector to check this out. If a leak is discovered, ask for it to be fixed or get a detailed estimate on what repairs would likely cost.
By watching out for these four issues, you can save yourself a lot of expense and hassle by not buying a house that costs you a fortune to repair.

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Christy Bieber is a personal finance and legal writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on major outlets including MSN Money, CNBC, and USA Today.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
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