Inspection Protection

You’ve found the ideal house in a great location. Before you start packing your moving boxes, make sure it’s a sound investment too. Most of us wouldn’t dream of buying a used car without a mechanical checkup. Yet with only a couple of 20-minute walk-throughs, we consider buying a home that’s much more expensive. That makes little sense to Joseph Zagone with CENTURY 21 Aspen Real Estate in Ruidoso, New Mexico. “An inspection is one of the best investments a buyer can make,” he says.

Here’s what you should know—and what not to ask.

What to Expect: The inspector will check all components in your house, leaving termite, septic system, and well inspections to specialists. (Here is a list of checkpoints.) A typical inspection costs $300–$400 and takes about three hours. Even if you’re an out of state buyer, arrange to tag along, Zagone says. You can see problems firsthand and you may learn valuable things such as where to find the water shutoffs.

Why it Pays: Experienced do-it-yourselfer Rebecca Anderson didn’t think an inspection would find anything she hadn’t noticed—until the inspector opened up the furnace and discovered a cracked heat exchanger. The upshot? The sellers threw in half the cost of a new furnace.

The Forbidden Question: Only one question is off-limits: “Should I buy this house or not?” That decision is yours alone. “I tell them to read the report completely and call me with questions,” says Gary Havens, owner of Good Havens Home Inspections in greater Minneapolis/St. Paul. “If I feel real comfortable about it, I’ll say I’d feel good about my kids buying it.”

The Seller’s Role: There is nothing to keep a seller from being present for the inspection too, though Zagone doesn’t encourage it. He prefers to help his potential seller line up a handyman beforehand to repair any existing problems. It’s also wise to initiate a separate inspection of your own. Learn more on under the “Selling Advice” tab.

Joe Zagone CENTURY 21 Aspen Real Estate, Ruidoso, New Mexico;

HIS CODE: “I want to know about any problems and have them remedied before I place a house on the market. My goal is win-win negotiating, to sell a sound house with no surprises at the correct price.”

OFF-HOURS: In the winter Joe serves as a certified ski instructor on nearby slopes. In warmer weather—even in winter—he makes good use of the seven golf courses in his area.

WHAT GOT HIM INTO REAL ESTATE: “My dad wasan engineer and later a real estate agent in this area. I took economics and marketing in college and worked as a carpenter’s helper in the summers. It all added up to a great background for becoming an agent. I love it.” He’s been in real estate 30 years and has been the top-producing CENTURY 21® Professional Champion in New Mexico for seven of the last eight years. He and his wife, Joan—also a Sales Professional—have five children.


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