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Tip 9. Inspect the Property

Home inspectors may not be licensed in many states and you will have to ask to see credentials and referrals. Inspectors should check structure, heating, air conditioner, plumbing, electrical, built-in appliances, roof, insulation, smoke detectors, kitchen, bathroom and foundation, pool, possible environmental hazards and should give you a detailed report. Property inspectors will refer their clients to specialists, such as roofers, structural engineers, and pest-control inspectors, if they discover a problem beyond their scope of expertise. You need an architect or a general contractor if your are buying a fixer-upper, intending to do corrective work or planning a property renovation, such as adding rooms or installing bathrooms. The architect or general contractor can tell you whether what you want to do is structurally possible and meets local planning codes for height restrictions and lot coverage. We suggest that you go along with the inspector when he examines the property. There are two trade associations for home inspectors: The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NAHI) and American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Both of these promote home inspection and encourage inspectors to improve their performance. An inspector should have at least a membership in one or the other. When choosing an inspector begin with an interview. Ask the inspector for his credentials: Has he worked in the construction business? Is he a licensed contractor? Does he have an engineering degree? Is he a member of the NAHI or ASHI? You should ask for the names of at least three people whose homes he has inspected in the past six months. Make sure to call them.

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