Whether you are buying a home or selling one, a home inspection is an essential part of the process. It my identify the need for major repairs or uncover builder oversights, as well as highlight the importance of maintenance to keep the home in good shape. The inspection typically will take place after the contract or purchase agreement has been signed. Before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent on the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms and conditions to which the buyer and seller are obligated.

The American Society of Home Inspectors (www.ashi.org) publishes a Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics that oulines what you should expect to be included in your home inspection report. Generally, it will cover the conditions of the following:

heating system

central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)

interior plumbing and electrical systems

roof, attic and visible insulation

walls, ceiling, floors, windows and doors

foundation, basement and structural components

Fees for a home inspection vary geographically and depend on factors such as the size of the house, its age, and optional services such as septic, well or radon testing. To find a qualified home inspector, ask your agent as well as friends or business acquaintances for recommendations