Buying a home is a big investment, and while there is no one right home, it’s important to buy the home that best fits your needs, wants and financial situation. Generally speaking, once you’ve found the home and have it under contract, you enter into what’s called a due diligence period.

During this period, the length of which is agreed upon by the buyer and seller, the buyer has the option to investigate the property. The determination of what inspections will be conducted depend on the home and the buyers.

Some buyers opt to save a few hundred dollars by skipping this step. While inspectors are additional expenses, hiring one can help you avoid costly repairs and, in some cases, prevent individuals from purchasing bad investments, saving them time and money.

In most cases, a minimum of a general building inspection, radon air and radon water — if the property has a private well — are strongly suggested. If the property has a private septic system, a septic inspection is encouraged; if it’s connected to city sewer, a sewer scope is recommended.

During a general building inspection, the inspector will visually examine the systems of the home. Since building inspectors are not licensed by the state and do not have regulated inspections checklists, it’s important to find out ahead of time what will be inspected, how long it will take and how much it will cost. Most homes can be inspected in 2-3 hours while old or large homes can take more than four hours.

Inspections are paid at the time of the inspection. Within a day or two after the inspection, the inspector should present the buyer with a report listing the problems, if any, that were found including descriptions and photos of the problems.

Depending on what the general building inspector and septic/sewer inspector discover in their preliminary inspections, the buyers may choose to hire specialists to take a closer look. This can include hiring a pest inspector, a plumber, electrician, furnace technician or even an arborist to take a look at a precarious tree.

In addition to taking a closer look at the actual physical dwelling and its systems, it’s critical to know the buildings being purchased are within the property boundaries being conveyed. A mortgage loan inspection would determine this. This inspection may be defined as a land surveyor’s professional opinion of the relative location of the boundary lines of a parcel of land.

The purpose of a mortgage loan inspection is to remove the survey exception from the lender’s policy in a residential real estate transaction. The exception is removed by providing title insurance covering certain boundary-related problems. In order to provide that insurance, the lender’s title insurance company requires that a surveyor perform a mortgage loan inspection. An inspection is not the basis of drafting land descriptions, land use permitting or the planning or erection of fences, landscaping, additions, sheds or garages.

To perform a mortgage loan inspection, a surveyor typically researches the property’s deed and any neighboring parcels. The surveyor may also walk the property to find any existing monuments and set any missing monuments or pins. From this research and field work, the surveyor creates an unbroken chain of title from the original transfer that established the parcel boundary up through the most recent conveyance. Zoning compliance and flood zone location are also typically byproducts of a mortgage loan inspection.

Depending on what the inspectors and surveyors discover, buyers may choose to purchase the property as is; attempt to renegotiate the current contract with the seller either by decreasing the purchase price, asking the seller to contribute toward prepaid and closing costs or asking the seller to repair issues prior to closing. They also may choose to terminate the transaction.

If you, or someone you know, is looking to purchase a home, be sure to contact your trusted expert Realtor. They will be able to advise you on your home purchase from viewing potential properties, to inspections and renegotiations, to closing.

This column is produced by Rick Bisson and his family, who own Bisson Real Estate with Keller Williams Realty of Midcoast and Sugarloaf. They can be reached at:
[email protected].