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Step 7: The Home Inspection

A satisfactory home inspection is a major component of purchasing a home. The buyer selects a licensed home inspector and pays for the inspection. The home inspection will be an additional cost of a few hundred dollars, but can give you the confidence that you know as much as possible about the property.

Do I need a home inspection?

Buyers should rely on an accurate home inspection to maximize their knowledge of the property in order to make intelligent decisions before entering a final agreement to purchase the property.

A home inspection, conducted by a licensed third party, is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from roof to foundation. It is the equivalent of a physical from your doctor, and gives you a true understanding of a home’s potential problems. An inspector can also recommend ways to address or more closely examine potential issues.

What is involved in a home inspection?

A standard home inspection summarizes findings from a visual inspection of the home's

  • Heating system
  • Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical systems
  • Roof, attic, and visible insulation
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Windows and doors
  • Foundation, basement, and the visible structures of the home

A good inspector will provide you with a written report immediately following the inspection. A failed inspection allows you to withdraw from the transaction (provided this contingency is in your Offer to Purchase Real Estate or to renegotiate the sales price.

You may also have the property inspected for termites, radon, lead paint and asbestos.

Where Can I find a Home Inspector?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has laws that govern home inspectors and the inspection process. The following resources may be helpful: