One of the most important steps you’ll take as a homebuyer is having a potential purchase inspected. Usually, a home inspection is performed after you have a contract with the seller. Once a price has been agreed to and the contract executed, the period known as “due diligence” begins. The length of the due diligence period varies from state to state, but is often around two weeks. During the due diligence period, you must apply for a loan and you have the right to have the home inspected.

It’s important to adhere to your due diligence period. If you complete the home inspection during the period, you can void the contract if a problem is found that you find unacceptable.

Your home inspector will look for structural and electrical problems, as well as inspect all the major systems in the home, such as heating and air conditioning. Then the inspector will prepare a report for you detailing all the problems. Customarily, you and your realtor will then prepare an addendum to the contract asking the seller to repair problems found during the inspection. The seller is not required to fix such items, but you will have the option to back out of the contract if the seller refuses.

In some cases, your home inspector may find such a major problem that you don’t even want to ask the seller to repair the home. In this case, you may opt out of your contract.

Getting a home inspection is critical to ensuring that you know what you’re getting into as a homebuyer. Many serious problems may not be visible to you as you’re touring a home. And, remembering to have that inspection performed during the due diligence period is just as important as the inspection itself.