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So, you’ve made an offer, the seller has countered, you’ve countered the counter… and after one exchange or many, you have agreed upon the terms of the contract.  What happens now?  First, you need to schedule an INSPECTION.

An inspection will cost between $350 and $600, depending upon the size and complexity of the home.   You want an inspector who is ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) certified.

My favorite inspector is Bryan Dilworth of Cornerstone Inspection Group.  Their website is http://www.atlantahomeinspector.com/ or you can call 770.436.2667 to schedule.  Chuck LeCraw, also an inspector, owns the company and he is great also.  They don’t charge you until the inspection is DONE, so you can schedule without worry (if you are calling before the contract is finalized, something happens and you do NOT get under contract, you won’t have to pay).

Your inspection company will ask if you want a RADON TEST. Radon is an odorless substance which emanates from natural stone in the ground.  It has been shown to cause lung cancer.   The main place we worry about radon is in a BASEMENT – and even if you do have a basement, if it is unfinished and you are not planning to finish it, it is not as crucial.  In fact, the radon testing protocol is that the radon is placed on the lowest FINISHED level, so they would put your radon test on the main floor if your basement it unfinished, where it is highly unlikely that there is any radon.  But if you have a FINISHED basement, I would absolutely order a radon test.

The only areas of town I’ve personally seen radon tests come back POSITIVE are near Chastain (just North of Chastain Park) and Tucker.  Both tests were done in finished basements.  I hear the closer you get toStone Mountain, the more likely they’ll find radon (it’s released from the granite).    What happens if they FIND radon?!?!  Well, you REMEDIATE it, which consists of plugging up any cracks and bare ground and in some cases, putting in a ventilation system.  It can cost 2,000 or so.  Not cheap.  If you discover radon during the inspection period, it is the seller’s job to pay for it.

Once you have your inspection, your inspector will issue a written report detailing everything he has found that is wrong with the property.  The average inspection report is 26 to 30 pages long, so don’t panic if yours is lengthy.  A lot of it will consist of general information and pictures. With me, your agent, you will decide what to ask the seller to fix, replace or repair – and thus the second big negotiation begins.  You must finish these negotiations within the due diligence period or EXTEND the due diligence period.

The seller can either agree to fix, replace or repair the inspection items themselves prior to closing, or can give you a monetary concession in lieu of repairs.  That monetary concession will have to pass muster with your lender.  Oftentimes a lender will NOT allow a check made out to a third party vendor at closing – instead you’ll have to negotiate more seller-paid closing costs or a reduction in the purchase price.

If the seller agrees to make repair, specify that receipts for those repairs will be provided at least three days prior to closing so that you can be sure that they are done and check to make sure that they are done correctly.