Finding the perfect house is tough for most buyers. But just getting an accepted offer is only the beginning of the house buying experience. As soon as you’re sale pending, you’ll need to start scheduling your home inspections. I typically recommend that buyers have three inspections: a general home inspection, an oil tank scan, and a sewer scope.

The general home inspector will perform a broad overview of all aspects of the house from the roof to the crawlspace. The inspector’s job is to test out and identify whether the house’s mechanical parts are functioning (i.e., the furnace, electrical outlets, plumbing system, dishwasher, etc) and to point out any structural or hazardous items, such as missing hand-rails at stairwells and inferior support beams. Most inspectors are also good about offering small tidbits of maintenance and repair advice to buyers. Most inspection companies base their pricing on the square footage of the home.

For most houses in the close-in Metro area, an oil tank scan of the property is advisable. Many of the older homes were originally heated with oil heat and although the house you are buying may have a different heat source now, such as gas or electric, there may still be a buried oil tank on the property. If the seller is unaware of a buried oil tank, then the only way to determine if one exists is to hire a tank company to scan the yard around the house. If a tank is found, further testing of the soil will determine if the tank is leaking oil into the ground.

Think of a sewer scope as a colonoscopy of your house. For this inspection, a long wire with a camera at the end is threaded through the sewer line from the sewer clean-out valve (which is typically located in the basement or garage) to where the line connects to the city main line in the street. The scope will reveal any problems with the sewer pipe including holes, tree root intrusion, breaks at connecting joints and improper grading. This inspection normally costs $100.00 and is well worth the money since a clogged sewer line could back-up into the house.

In addition to the above, other inspections may be recommended, such as radon testing or specialists for the roof, furnace, electrical or plumbing systems. It is good for buyers to know as much about the house they are purchasing as possible. Never waive your right to inspect!