October 7th, 2018 11:31 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
are some questions to ask a home inspector? If you're buying a house, you
know that your home inspector will check it out and make sure it's
in decent shape. So if you want to get to know your home beyond its pretty
facade, you should pepper your inspector with questions—a whole lot of them, in
But when you
ask those questions is as important as what you ask. Namely,
you should attend your home inspection and ask him right then and
there. The reason: Rather than trying to decipher your inspector's (very
technical) report, it's much easier for this pro to actually show you
what's going on with the house.
To help you get this essential show-and-tell session
rolling, here are a few questions to ask a home inspector that will help you
size up a house yourself, and keep it in good condition for as long as you hang
your hat there.
inspection, your inspector will go slowly through the entire house, checking everything to
ensure there are no signs of a problem, says Frank Lesh, executive
Director of the American Society of Home Inspectors. He'll point out
things to you that aren't as they should be.
afraid to ask any questions about what he's telling you, and make sure you
understand the issue and why it matters.
example: If the inspector says something like, "Looks like you've got some
rotten boards here," it's smart to ask him to explain what that means for
the overall house—how difficult it is to repair, and how much it will cost.
keep in mind that your inspector can't tell you whether or not to buy the house,
or how much you should ask the seller to fix (though your real estate agent
should be able to help with that).
2. 'Is this a big deal or a minor issue?'
most people, buying a house is the biggest purchase they'll ever make. It's
normal to start feeling panicky when your inspector is telling you the house
has a foundation problem, a roof in need of repair, or electrical that isn't up
to code. Don't freak out—just ask the inspector whether he thinks the issue is
a big deal. You'll be surprised to hear that most houses have similar issues
and that they're not deal breakers, even if they sound major.
if it is major? Well, that's why you're having the inspection
done. You can address it with the seller or just walk away.
3. 'What's that water spot on the ceiling, and is it a problem?'
be shy about pointing out things that look off to you and asking if they're OK.
Odds are, if there's something weird, your inspector has noted it and is going
to check it out thoroughly. For example, if there's a water spot on the
ceiling, maybe he needs to check it from the floor above to know if it's an
issue. If something is bothering you about the house, make sure to address it.
your inspector will ask you if there's anything you're specifically concerned
about before he starts. Make sure to tell him if this is your first home, or if
you're worried about the house's age, or anything at all that strikes you as a
4. 'I've never owned a house with an HVAC/boiler/basement.
How do I maintain this thing?'
aside, this is your golden opportunity to have an expert show you how to take
care of your house.
are used to explaining basic things to people. If you have a question, ask
it," says Lesh. "Don't expect your inspector to teach you how to
build a clock, but we are happy to explain how things work."
5. 'What are your biggest concerns about the property?'
the end of the inspection, the inspector should give you a broad-strokes
summary of what he found. You'll get a written report later, but this is a
great moment to get clarity on what the inspector thinks are the house's
biggest issues, and whether or not they require further investigation.
you'll need to call in another expert—a plumber, electrician, roofer, or HVAC
professional—to take a look at anything the inspector flagged. You should walk
away from inspection day with a mental punch list of things that need to be
addressed by either the seller or another expert.
some states, there's a limited amount of time for these negotiations to
happen, so you and your agent may want to hit the ground running. Your official
report will have more detail, but you should know what's on it by the time you
leave the home that day.
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