Once the home seller accepts your offer, you’ve signed a purchase agreement, and deposited any earnest money, you’re considered officially under contract. While you’ve reached a major milestone in the home buying journey, your work isn’t over just yet. You still need to make sure that the home you intend to purchase is everything the seller says it is.

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a the best way for you to ensure the home you plan on buying is exactly what you think it is. It will identify any structural issues and necessary repairs on the property. If the inspection professional finds problems with the home, you can require the seller to fix them, reduce your offer accordingly, or even cancel your contract. A home inspector is a critical hire. The home inspector you choose needs to be vetted, so find out if they are a member of any associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors.

What is an appraisal?

Mortgage lenders require you to have the property appraised as protection against loaning more than the home’s true value. If an appraisal comes in lower than your offer price, your buyer’s agent can work with you on what to do next. You may be able to negotiate the seller down on the price, for example, or you may need to cancel your contract. You usually don’t have a choice on appraisers, they’re a third-party service hired to identify if the contractual value can be found from the recent comparable sold homes.”