Expert Advice on Selecting and Buying a Home

Buying a home is one of the largest investments people make, and can be an overwhelming experience. As the oldest and most experienced real estate inspection service in the US and Canada, HouseMaster has helped nearly 3.5 million homebuyers reduce their stress and make sound real estate decisions .

Things to keep in mind

At HouseMaster, we like to say the 3 most important words in real estate are LOCATION, LOCATION, CONDITION!


Many considerations must be taken into account when determining where you should buy a home. Proximity to employment and the quality of the schools are common factors to determine if the location is suitable.

Many communities now have websites chock full of information you should review when selecting your future home location. Once you've narrowed your search to a few towns or communities, contact local Realtors® to learn more about real estate in that area.

In addition to getting a feel for housing in the area, we recommend you spend some time in the town you are considering. Have a meal at a local restaurant, do some shopping, or visit the library to get a feel for the community. And make sure you visit the area during the day and at night, and weekdays as well as weekends.


Condition is a significant factor to be calculated into your home purchase equation, which is why a certified home inspector should be an important part of your team.

All homes require constant care; care that will cost money. Most homebuyers take into consideration what the cost of paying the home's mortgage, taxes and utilities will be, but fail to factor in home repairs and maintenance. HouseMaster estimates that to adequately maintain a home in today's economy home owners need to spend between 1-3% of the cost of the home each year on maintenance. Many HouseMaster customers ask if it's better to buy a home in a good condition at a higher price or a home in need of repairs at a lower price?

The answer is: It depends! While this response may seem vague, this is where the information provided by your inspector on the inspection will be important for the buyer to consider. A home that is inspected and found to have many defects that is selling for a low price may be a great value for a homebuyer who is very handy and has the time and money to make the needed improvements.

On the other hand, buying a home that requires a lot of repairs may be a big mistake. First time homebuyers must consider the repairs outlined in the report provided by their real estate inspection service and whether or not they can afford to make them after paying their mortgage, particularly if the buyers do not consider themselves do-it-yourselfers.

Another consideration to factor in is how long you plan on staying in the home. Many homebuyers are only planning on being in a home for a few years and don't have the time, money or inclination to coordinate many repair projects. These buyers often find that paying a premium for a home found to be in good condition on the inspection is a wise choice for them.

New Construction

Many homebuyers who are considering purchasing a newly built home wonder if a real estate inspection is necessary since the home is new. The answer is yes! Even though local municipality officials will perform code inspections, this does not ensure that all defects will be found by the municipal inspectors and the home will be constructed properly and be free of defects.

In addition, the cliché "they don't make them like they used to" holds very true for newly constructed homes. Many builders require home inspections on the homes they build because they understand the value of a real estate inspector providing an objective check of the construction of the home is in everyone's best interest.

Once you've found a home

Contracts: Your realtor and/or law professional should explain the purchase process, including the real estate inspection, make and negotiate the offer, and prepare contracts. Once the contract has been accepted you will need to make arrangements for your home inspection. Most contracts only allow 7-14 days for you to obtain all necessary inspections. HouseMaster offices generally schedule inspector's appointments within 48-72 hours of the request, which is normally more than enough time. We ENCOURAGE you to attend the inspection and follow along with your real estate inspector. HouseMaster inspectors will be eager to address your particular concerns and explain their findings as well as demonstrate how to operate many of the systems in the home.

Don't forget to inspect the inspector

All home inspectors are NOT created equal. Choosing the right real estate inspection organization is crucial. To make certain your home inspector is qualified you need to "Inspect the Inspector". Follow this important advice and you will be able to make an informed real estate purchase.