You have a realtor you trust, one who has found just the home you’ve been looking for—it meets your wants and desires. You realize that you are about to spend more money than you have ever spent in your life. You want to be sure this is going to be a great decision, emotionally, cerebrally and financially. Now what do you do?  How do you make sure that financially you can make it all happen with no unexpected surprises?


STEP 1: Listen to your trusted realtor


You have found a realtor you like and trust. After all they have found you a house that will become the home you have dreamed about for so long. You are looking forward to being able to build your equity instead of someone else’s equity. You have scrimped and saved for this day.  It is about to happen.  So, you ask your realtor, what do I need to do next? Because your realtor is thorough and wants you ultimately to be happy, he/she suggests you get the house visually and non-invasively inspected before you buy it.



Step 2: Hire a skilled and knowledgeable home inspector

This is key to your ultimate happiness. After all you are about to commit to paying more money than you have ever in your lifetime, so let’s not have any big surprises. There are 10 systems in a house:  interior, exterior, roof, foundation/basement/crawlspace/structure, heating system, cooling system, appliances, electrical, plumbing, insulation/ventilation. Each is integral to the house. Each is important to you. Having one fail could be quite costly. You don’t want “I have made this huge investment and now this!!”




Step 3: Finding the right home inspector

How do I do that? What should I check for? What questions do I ask?

  1. Are they licensed in the state?
  2. Are they insured?
  3. What is their background and experience? Certifications?
  4. Are they trained?
  5. Do they know what to inspect for? Especially if the house is older.
  6. Have they inspected homes for years or are they new to the process?
  7. Will they give you a timely written report of the good, the bad and the ugly? (Definitely within your ‘Due Diligence’ period, which is typically 3-4 weeks.)
  8. Can I attend the inspection and ask questions? Will the answers be non-technical, so I can understand them? The answer should be “Yes, of course.”
  9. Do you think you can trust them? Do they have the skills you are looking for? (It’s totally subjective…follow your gut)
  10. CAUTION: I cannot stress enough that you get what you pay for, so don’t cut corners here.


Step 4:  Move in knowing you have done a great job!!

Enjoy your new house, now make it your home.  Be secure in the fact that you have done all you can do.  You have made good decisions that have allowed your realtor and your home inspector to do their best on your behalf.


Welcome to home ownership!




Tom Nolan, Owner, Checkmark Home Inspections, is a home inspector in the Mooresville, NC / Iredell County region. With over 46 years experience in the industry as a OSHA Consultant, Safety & Security Manager, and Professional Engineer, he knows what to look for when inspecting a home. His key to success is being detail-oriented and focused on the facts. Contact him at (704) 621-7176 or through