To hear professional home inspectors tell it, Americans take better care of their automobiles than their homes. Consequently, every home buyer should plan to spend the $400 to $600 necessary to have the house they like best thoroughly examined by an independent third party.
But before you order an inspection, you should do some preliminary investigating of your own. That way, you can protect against picking the wrong house and allowing a better-maintained property to slip away.
Even rookie buyers can get a good idea of just how well a house has been kept. Even when the seller has given the place a fresh shave and a haircut — that is, painted the house and trimmed the lawn — or done whatever else is necessary to make the property presentable, there can still be telltale signs that the seller hasn’t been as diligent as he or she could have been.