Buying a new home is a huge financial decision, whether it is your first home or your fifteenth. Each investment is unique with its own history, charm, and maintenance concerns. While not every home is perfect, some homes can appear beautiful on the surface while hiding dangerous problems just waiting to break on a new homeowner.
Your best protection from the disaster of a nicely painted wreck is your home inspector, the expert who can tell you what’s really going on with house behind the walls, under the floors, and in the pipes. OF course, just getting an inspection isn’t enough.
You need to be able to work with your home inspector, understand the report, and make a truly informed decision based on their conclusions. Naturally, this will require a few questions.
To help you know what to ask your home inspector and how to make the most of your inspection, we’ve put together a quick summary of what you should be asking and the answers you should be listening for.
1) What Does/Doesn’t Your Inspection Cover?
Every home inspection service covers specific points that are checked and verified. However, this also means some things may not be included based on the expertise or services offered by the inspector. Make sure to ask what will be inspected and specifically inquire as to what will not be included in the inspection. You may need a separate service to assess specialty aspects of a home.
2) How Long Have You Been Inspecting?
Know how experienced your home inspector is. Naturally, you want to work with someone who has seen their fair share of hidden flaws and knows how to hunt down and spot underlying problems in the plumbing, foundation, HVAC system, and so on. A younger inspector may have less experience, you may get a similar quality service if they have been trained by a team of experts.
3) What is Your Area of Expertise?
Every inspector has one or several types of home issues they are particularly good at spotting, sometimes related to a specific kind of building. Look for an inspector that is most familiar with the kind of home you need to be inspected and be aware of what they are best at identifying.
4) What are the Major Red-Flag Concerns?
Once an inspector understands the sitution of the home in question, they should be able to give you a quick summary of your worst-case-scenario problems and red flags that could mean hundreds or thousands in repairs. These may not necessarily be deal-breakers, but things you should be very aware of if the inspector spots an issue.
5) Who Should I Call for a Quote on Defects You Point Out?
A good inspector will give you some guidance on who to call for more info or quotes on areas of concern. If it’s in the report, that’s a bonus. Some defects require a more thorough investigation by a specialist.
6) How Long Will the Appliances Last?
Homes tend to be sold with their major appliances in-tact. The HVAC system, the water heater, and the kitchen equipment all age with the home and sometimes it can be difficult to tell just how old they really are. Your home inspector can tell you what shape they are in and how long until you might need to replace them. Newer appliances can increase the price of a home while older ones may give you a bargaining point.
7) Can I Be Present During the Inspection?
You can certainly be there during the inspection. We encourage clients to join for the last 30 minutes to do a walk-through of the home. This enables us to focus on the home and be as thorough as possible, while still getting to walk you through and highlight the most important findings.
8) Will You Help Me Understand the Report?
Getting an inspection report is one thing but making informed decisions based on that report requires understanding. No one can help you better than your inspector to understand what they saw and the implications that has on the state of the home and how good an idea it is for you to buy,
9) Are You Licensed to Do Repairs?
While many inspectors may have licenses or skills to do repairs, it can be seen as a conflict of interest. I personally don’t do repairs within a year on any home I inspect.
10) What Kind of Maintenance Will this Home Need?
Finally, when deciding to buy a home, you will want to know how much maintenance time and money the property will need to stay in good condition. After an inspection, your inspector should be able to give you a rough estimate of your maintenance schedule and needs for each aspect of the home.
Getting an inspection is vital to any home buyer’s decision-making process because it allows you to get a truly clear picture of what you are getting into. Working with the right inspector can help you better understand the state of the home, what it will be like to live there, and how much investment it will take to upkeep or make improvements. For more information about home inspections or to schedule one for yourself, contact us today.