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Buying and selling a home is an exciting time of change. However, during this time, for both the buyer and the seller, a home inspection is critical to the process. Home inspections will come up with all types of potential problems that might not have ever been detected.

With home inspections, there is a basic guideline � the older the home � the more important the inspection. Newer homes have up to date wiring for electricity, galvanized pipes for plumbing, and meet current building code. On the other hand, an older home is subject to many surprises, especially if no upgrades have been done.

For example, if you were looking at a 30 to 40-year-old home, you can expect to find some things needing to be changed. A qualified inspector can find all the hidden problems to ensure any problems are corrected before you buy. Whenever you choose an inspector, you should use a licensed Professional Engineer (PE). Although not all inspectors are PEs, even if you have to pay a little extra, you will be glad you did.

A qualified PE will climb into an attic of the 30-year-old home to discover a crack or break in one of the supporting crossbeams, or look deeply inside the fireplace to find a crack, or perhaps identify that there are no water shut-off valves under the sinks. The last thing you want to do is spend your valuable time shopping for a home, find one that is perfect, and then settle in only to run into a major problem only months later.

Older homes often feature unmatched architectural charm that draws in buyers. Buying an older home provides many advantages over a newer home in that in addition to the charm, often the materials used are sturdier, and the landscaping around the property mature. Just remember if you want to buy an older home, you want things that cannot be seen checked by a qualified inspector.

Some of the additional types of things that an older home will need to be checked for would include lead paint, carbon monoxide leaks, radon leaks, and asbestos materials. Many of these things were used before the 1970s in homebuilding, which have now been identified as being dangerous and must be removed and corrected. The foundation is also an important factor with a home inspection regardless of the home�s age, but particularly for an older home where the technology was not as advanced.

Typically, a home inspection will cost you from $150 to $300 depending on the level of qualification with a PE falling in the upper range. The inspection can be done generally within a few hours although for a larger, older home, it could take longer. Finally, whether buying or selling a home, you want to walk with the inspector through the process to ask questions and understand the things found.
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