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Commentary by Dan Steward

RISMEDIA, Feb. 6, 2008-Whether your client is buying a new home or in the market for an older home, the door should always be open to a home inspection–before buying. Home inspections help home buyers spot potential problems with a house–ranging from dry rot to termites, and from faulty wiring to bad plumbing. That information not only saves you future headaches, but it can also be used as leverage when negotiating the price of a home.

Here’s a look at the top three ways home inspections can help homeowners:

1: Cut Costs
Home inspections generally cost between $300 and $400–a cost that can often be recouped in maintenance savings or even split between home buyer and seller. And consider this fact: a new roof for a 2,000-square-foot, single-story home (tar and gravel) costs between $14,000 and $20,000, depending on regions, upgrades, complexities and disposal fees. If your buyer unknowingly purchases a home needing a new roof, that cost is passed entirely to him or her. However, if a home inspector determines a new roof is needed, at least part of that cost might be subtracted from the selling price of a home or split between the buyer and seller.

2: Boost Your Homeowner IQ
A home inspection can be a great learning opportunity. Your buyer will find out quite a bit about the house he or she is buying and have a better idea of what maintenance areas need his or her attention.

Pillar To Post provides a home inspection report to clients–complete with digital photos–a detailed list and executive summary of findings, and maintenance recommendations and tips, among other things. The reports are done at the time of inspection and cover more than 1,600 items in the home.

Also, if your buyer is the “hands-on” type, he or she might be able to follow the home inspector as he does his or her work. Often, home inspectors will describe what they’re doing and talk about routine maintenance as they perform the inspection.

3: Build a Better Budget
Because a home-inspection report points out potential problems with a house, it can help your buyer’s budget for upcoming repair expenses and prioritize work that needs to be done.

If the home buyer has a good understanding of what it’s going to cost to keep the house in shape, he or she can get a much better idea of what perks–such as a new kitchen–he or she can afford. Buyers can also use inspection reports to help determine what they can afford in the way of mortgage payments and closing costs.

RE Dan Steward is the president of Pillar To Post.

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