Many people will consider buying a new home in 1995, with the Massachusettseconomy pulling out of recession. First-time buyers and those reenteringthe real estate market after more than five years should pay close attentionto the pre-purchase home inspection.

This evaluation of a home’s conditionis a routine part of the purchase and sale agreement and is usually listedas a contingency. The inspector’s job is to provide the homebuyer with thevital information they will need to make a sound purchase decision, whetherthey are buying a new or resold home.

Since the home inspection profession is still relatively young, it iscritical that buyers understand the process and know what to expect fromthe inspector they select. The following checklist will help the buyer throughthe selection process.

What to Expect

Professional standards. While there are no state of federal guidelines,home inspectors throughout the country are expected to follow the Standardsof Practice established by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI),widely recognized as the leading authority in the field. This document specifiesall of the components of a home that are to be included in an inspection,from foundation to rooftop. A free copy is available from ASHI by calling1.800.743.ASHI.

Ethics. To be sure that a home inspector is ethical and professional,consumers should ascertain before the inspection that he or she will notoffer to do any repairs on the inspected property, and that the firm hasno financial interest in the transaction or in the real estate agent’s commission.Any indicatoin of such a conflict of interest should send a red flag totell the consumers to look for another inspector.

Service. Home inspectors know a home’s many systems and how their componentswork; both independently and together, and they understand why and how theyfail. Consumers should expect the written report to describe the actualcondition of the home at the time of inspection, based upon visual observation,and to provide an indication of the need for major repairs.

If the selection of a home inspector is made carefully and ahead of time,homebuyers will have one less detail to worry about during the chaos andexcitement of finding a new home.

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