After you and the Seller are in agreement of the major components of a real estate contract (sales price, amount of earnest money, closing date, etc.), you will want to perform inspections on the property you intend to purchase. Typical inspections include structural, termite and EMP (electrical, mechanical and plumbing). Additional inspections are available to you and are outlined in the real estate contract, but these are the basic three that should be performed.
Your Realtor should already have pointed out if there is wood rot that may not pass an FHA appraisal or have noted that the hot water heater needs to be raised in order to be compliant. However, there’s a lot that we can’t see or predict. Not every crack is an indicator of structural damage, and we have no way of knowing if the dishwasher works properly.
After your inspections are done, you and your Realtor will go through the reports together and identify what you would like the Seller to repair, treat or replace. Depending on what you have asked the Seller to be responsible for in the initial contract, you may not elect to have all repairs done. Or, you may ask for all repairs to be done and offer to chip in on the expense, if it exceeds the amount agreed upon in the contract.
Inspectors are very helpful in identifying items that are currently in working order but should be serviced or budgeted for replacement. Remember that you are paying the inspectors and they are working for you. Ask all the questions you want!!