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Home Inspection Before or After Your Offer?

Which is better:  to have the home inspected before you make an offer, or after?  It is most common to order an inspection after you know that your offer is acceped by the seller.  If the price you are prepared to pay seems to have no chance of buying the home, paying for an inspection ($300-$600) is a waste of money.  That's the conventional thinking and it usually is sound.

However, homebuying is a flexible undertaking and much is dictated by the particular circumstance in which you find yourself.  It isn't always best to leave your professional home inspection until your offer has been accepted . 

You could have is carried out between offers, while the negotiation is still in progress.  Perhaps before you make your second, third, or final offer when it can be the catalyst in making the deal.  Naturally, any offer you make before the inspection will carry a contingency clause stating that you will go through with the deal only if the results are satisfactory to you.

A later inspection can  sometimes give you even greater advantage than an early one.  Let's say you have reached agreement with the seller.  You have negotiated well and have won a good reduction in the selling price. 

The seller's anticipation is heightened.  He sees the deal as a done thing.  He is glad the whole process is over.  Then, if the inspection reveals problems, it is much harder for him to back out.  He is far more likely to agree to a lower sale price or, at least, pay for the repairs or replacements that are needed.

If you are a first time buyer or new to negotiating, it is probably better to negotiate a price first.  Then, have an inspection carried out and try to get the seller to pay for any work you consider necessary or to agree to a lower price.