To avoid a bad experience that could end up in a legal battle with the sellers over property problems, make sure your purchase agreement includes an inspection contingency.

Your mission during the inspection contingency period is to find out as much as possible about the property and surrounding area, insurability of the property, permit history, zoning issues and cost to repair defects. Investigate any issues that could affect whether or not the property will suit your long-term needs at a price you can afford.

Most states have home seller disclosure requirements. If you are buying in a state that doesn’t require sellers to disclosure material facts, ask the sellers to disclose in writing any property defects or neighborhood issues they know about.

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