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By Charlestien Harris

In the excitement of buying or selling a home, people sometimes overlook an essential step in the process. However, it is very important that you schedule a home inspection whether you are the buyer or seller of a house. The inspection is an assessment of a home’s structural soundness, and it is crucial to have a professional conduct it before you close on a house.

If you’re in the process of buying or selling a home, do your homework on what’s needed to get a certified home inspection report.  A certified home inspector will have a certificate issued by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the licensing organization for qualified inspectors.  A good home inspector can help you identify potential problems with the property you’re about to sell or own, and they can give you information that will help you with the upkeep after moving in.

Home inspections are different from appraisals in that inspectors don’t determine a value for the home; they assess the structure and other elements of the property, create a detailed report on their findings, explain any issues to the homebuyer or homeowner and offer guidance.  Some examples of areas inspectors can look at include, heating and cooling systems, interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and attic, ceilings and floors, windows and doors and other critical areas. 

Based on what the home inspector finds, you can request that a seller pay for repairs or make concessions before you close on the home purchase. If the home inspection finds significant issues with the home, you might decide not to complete the purchase entirely. The average cost of a home inspection can range from $400-$600 plus.

Here are five common mistakes that should be avoided when scheduling a home inspection:

  1.  Not researching the inspector. 

Too many homebuyers hire whoever is recommended to them without doing any research. The inspection is only as good as the inspector performing it.  An inspector also needs to be able to identify issues with a property and explain them to the buyer in layman’s terms. 

2.  Not attending the inspection. 

Being present for the inspection often is not mandatory, but it is a good idea. Simply reading the inspection report isn’t enough to give most homeowners and homebuyers the full picture.  A good inspector can give you an estimate of how much you’ll need to spend on repairs and upgrades, which is very valuable information as you consider your budget and what you might want to ask the seller to cover. 

3.  Not reading the inspection report. 

While it is suggested that you should attend the inspection, you should also read the report thoroughly, so there will be no potential surprise problems at closing. 

4.  Not getting a presale inspection. 

A lot of sellers decide to leave the inspection to the buyers but that can be a mistake because if problems are found it may limit the amount of time the seller has to fix the issues or it may derail the sale of the home entirely.  Both buyers and sellers often wait too long to engage an inspector. You should find an inspector long before you put a house up for sale or as a buyer make an offer on a home. 

5. Not preparing the home for the inspection process. 

Lack of preparation can make it difficult for inspectors to do their job well.  Locked doors, blocked access areas such as crawl spaces, attics and basements and other obstructions can make the inspectors job more difficult to perform. 

One last thing to consider as a seller, if the inspector does find issues with the home, you should be prepared to repair them. There are some repairs that can be do-it-yourself projects, but there are some that warrant a professional contractor.  Poor workmanship will show up during the follow-up inspection and could result in the need for more repairs and another inspection or the cancellation of the sale.   

As a HUD approved counseling agency, Southern Bancorp Community Partners has a brochure issued by HUD that will further explain the home inspection process or you can download a copy at  

For more information on this topic you can contact me at or 662-624-5776.  Until next week, stay financially fit!