Buyer Tips: questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

When you make an offer on a home, your real estate agent will strongly recommend requesting a home inspection. About four in five home buyers decide to attend the home inspection and get the experience personally. If you are somewhat unfamiliar with the process, it may be a good idea to learn a little more about what goes on during this important part of buying a home.

Here are four questions you can ask during the home inspection to get a better understanding of what the inspection covers and how to interpret the results.

1. Is There Anything Not Covered in the Home Inspection?

A home inspection is quite necessary to ascertain the condition of a home you want to buy. Inspectors are trained and certified to look at many different aspects of the home and determine damage or the likelihood that you will need to replace something soon. However, the home inspection does not test for everything.

A home inspector looks at the structure and the home’s systems and equipment for their current condition. This may not include testing for the presence of toxic contaminants, such as mold, lead or radon. It may also not involve the inspection of other structures or systems on the property, e.g. a shed or swimming pool.

2. What Should I Be Looking For?

The best thing you can do is follow the inspector through the home during the inspection. This allows you to see what the inspector is looking at. You will have a better memory of problems that come up if you recall seeing them yourself. As a buyer, your eye may be distracted by cosmetic issues that are unrelated to the goals of the home inspection. Ask the inspector to show you the kinds of things you should focus on during the inspection, so you can stay on topic and not miss out on the important parts of the study.

3. Can You Point Out Problems You Identify?

Preparing a report for a home inspection takes time. The inspection itself calls for a few hours of time, and then the inspector must document the nature and extent of any concerns in a report that is given to both the seller and the prospective buyer.

Inquire if the inspector is willing to share issues as they are observed, so that you can see the problem at the same time. This will help you to make a mental list and visual image and estimated costs of future repairs. Your inspector may be happy to discuss the details of necessary fixes, or they may not. After the inspection, ask about referrals to repair services if needed.

4. How Do I Decide Which Items Are Most Important?

Once you get the home inspection report, you have to determine which repairs are important enough to you to bring up with the seller. Some issues may be so simple and inexpensive that you do not want to hold up the home buying process to get them resolved. Others could be more complicated, requiring negotiation with the seller. If it is not easy to make a distinction in repairs, raise the topic with the inspector and get their opinion about the bigger or more expensive problems. You do not have to follow the recommendation, but it may help you make a practical decision.

Buying a home is a big investment, making the home inspection so relevant for your future. With these four questions, you can follow through the inspection and look for the right things in each part of the property. At the end, you will know what to do with the report and have a better time prioritizing any necessary repairs.