Buying a home is likely to be one of the, if not the most, significant investments you will make. Because it’s such a considerable investment, the temptation to cut corners where you can to save money can be overwhelming. While there’s nothing wrong with tightening your belt, you’d be ill-advised to save money by skipping out on a home inspection.

A home inspection report can identify some serious red flags. When you’re armed with the information provided by a home inspector, you can help avoid unpleasant surprises weeks, months, or years down the road. Here are some ways a home inspection can help benefit you.

It can provide you with an “out”

You can help protect yourself by making the findings of a home inspector part of your purchase agreement. This is known as a contingency clause. If a home inspector finds significant issues with the property, you’ll be able to back out of the purchase agreement without suffering any type of penalty.

Things your home inspector should look at

Any competent home inspector should take a look at the following:

  • Home exterior: Your home inspector should look for any exterior cracks to the walls or foundation of your home. An inspector should be able to determine if the foundation rests on solid ground and if the area around it is properly graded. Water pooling around the foundation can spell disaster. A look at the roof should also be on the list. A leaky roof can cause all sorts of problems.
  • Potential electrical issues: It’s astounding how many homeowners attempt electrical repairs by themselves. Improperly grounded wires can lead to electrical shocks, burns, or even devastating fires.
  • Plumbing: The last thing you want to encounter with your home is plumbing issues. An inspector can check the water pressure and look at visible piping for signs of cracks, leaks, or improper materials.
  • Appliances: A stove, washer, or dryer that is not correctly installed is an accident waiting to happen. Your inspector can identify whether this is an area of concern.

A thorough inspector may also identify other potential problem areas with the home.

A home inspection report can aid in your negotiations

If your inspector uncovers problems that will be expensive to correct, you can use these findings when negotiating a purchase price. You can request that the seller make any necessary repairs or updates. Alternatively, you can ask that the estimated cost of repairs be subtracted from the purchase price. If you’re at all uncomfortable with how things are proceeding, you can walk away if the results of the inspection are part of your purchase agreement contingency plan. You may wish to consider working with a skilled legal professional who can help guide you through each stage of the homebuying process.