Purchasing a home is a huge undertaking and is most likely your largest investment. It is therefore wise to do everything in your power to minimize your risks. The first step is to hire a competent Realtor, that is where I come in. Your Realtor can then lead you through the process of intelligent due diligence. Some common items to consider: Is the asking price justified for comparable sales? How does the homes condition compare to others on the market? Are there any obvious flaws? What is the potential resale potential of the home? If the property is part of an HOA, can I live with the rules and the assessments? Can I live with the neighbors? etc…
Once these basic questions are answered a buyer usually then looks at the home more in depth. In our area a general home inspector is hired to look at plumbing, roof, electrical, appliances, foundation, drainage, furnace, etc. If there are any “red flags” he recommends that the buyer bring in a specialist to assess the situation and possibly bring in a bid. Another usual inspection in our area is a radon test. Usually the inspector administers the test for an added fee and provides the results of a 48 hour test.
Another inspection that is seldom used but very useful in older homes especially, is the video sewer line inspection. Some plumbers have a special camera that video tapes the sewer line as it exits the house, runs under the yard and enters the city line. The cost for the test runs around $300, but if it is an older home or one with a bunch of trees in the front yard, it can be well worth the cost. At the conclusion of the test the buyer ends up with a video of their sewer line with any breaks in the line marked in the yard. Costs to re-do a sewer line are usually above $4,000 so this is something that is best found out before closing.
The image above actually shows roots growing into a sewer line.