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Tips for LGBT Real Estate Buyers: Leveraging the value of home inspections.

One of the most essential steps in any real estate transaction is the building inspection, and by all means LGBT buyers should have an inspection done before purchasing any property. There are many kinds of professional home inspections – and each has a particular focus. There are those that analyze energy consumption and carbon emissions, for example, ones that investigate potential environmental hazards, and others that look for evidence of wood-boring pests like termites. But perhaps the most common is the buyer-ordered structural and mechanical inspection that takes place during the pre-purchase phase..

Two Main Types of Buyer Inspections.

A typical “Limited Visual Property Inspection” takes approximately three hours and usually costs $250 to $800, depending on the size and condition of the home. But if the buyer feels the need for a more in-depth investigation, general inspectors can team up with engineers, licensed contractors, or other experts to perform a more comprehensive inspection. This is usually required if the property has exceptional features such as a swimming pool, wood-burning fireplace, solar electrical system, or an elevator. .

Environmental inspectors may be hired, for instance, to check for the presence of hazards like asbestos, radon, or toxic mold. Or if there are cracks in the foundation, for example, the buyer may need to hire a licensed engineer to determine the extent of any damage and recommend a remedy. Additional inspections can get expensive, though, so LGBT buyers should carefully assess the need for them and get bids in writing beforehand..

The Unique Value of Tagging Along.

The LBGT buyer should, if at all possible, try to show up for the inspection. By actually accompanying their inspector they can take full advantage of a rare opportunity to ask questions and see firsthand what the inspector believes is noteworthy. Hands-on information gained through this kind of experience can also make it much easier to comprehend the written inspection report and understand the significance of recommendations included in the document. .

That knowledge comes in handy when it’s time to negotiate with the seller over the cost, timeline, and individual or shared responsibilities regarding any recommended repairs. But tagging along also provides buyers with additional insight about the nature of the architectural structure and its equipment and systems. That makes it easier to perform routine home maintenance tasks after taking ownership of the property..

Post-Inspection Negotiations.

Within a few days of the inspection, the inspector will provide the client with the written report. At that time the buyer can request bids from contractors for inspector-recommended repairs. If the total dollar amount of the repairs is significant, one approach is to ask for a repair allowance from the seller or negotiate a lower sales price in order to be compensated for those extra expenses. If the issues are serious enough, however, they could be deal breakers. The contract to purchase should ensure that the buyer can walk away from a home that needs lots of repair work without losing any earnest money. For that reason the original purchase offer should be carefully worded and, if necessary, reviewed by the buyer’s own real estate attorney..

But it is also important to keep things in perspective. Don’t let a skirmish over a few hundred dollars ruin a chance to own a fabulous home at a very reasonable price. Many attractive deals fall apart because buyers and sellers cannot resolve silly disputes over relatively minor repairs. Their egos engage in a tug ‘o war, they dig in their heels, and it becomes impossible to bridge the gap. Lots of people miss out on their once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy a dream home because of an argument with a seller over leaky faucets. So as soon as the potential for a deal-breaking disagreement erupts, buyers should step back and let the Realtor negotiate on their behalf. That helps to keep buyer and seller emotions safely out of the equation. If a small concession has to be made in order to ensure a much more profitable and satisfying long-term outcome, so be it..

LGBT consumers can also benefit from other kinds of home inspections. The same professional who does buyer-ordered inspections may also be available to perform a child safety evaluation, for instance, for homeowners who have kids and want to ensure their well being. Sellers can also enlist the help of an inspector to troubleshoot potential issues with a property before putting it on the market, so that the sale goes through without a hitch. .

Always verify credentials and licenses, but keep in mind that many states still do not require licensing of home inspectors. In that case consumers can at least check industry trade organization affiliations and request references and proof of appropriate training and education. Proactive LGBT homeowners in those states may also want to advocate for greater policing of the profession by demanding that lawmakers regulate the industry through official licensing procedures..

To find real estate and mortgage professionals dedicated to active support of the LGBT community, visit and or call toll free  1-888-420-MOVE (6683)..