Buying a home is often a complicated and expensive process, and the home inspection is an important part of the transaction. An experienced and reliable inspector will examine the physical condition of the entire property from the roof and attic down to the basement and building foundation and everything in between. This includes doors, windows, walls, ceilings, floors, electrical work, plumbing, insulation and more. Buying a home is a big investment, and hiring the right home inspector can ensure you know exactly what you are buying. Use the following list of questions to help you choose a skilled and trustworthy inspector.
1) What exactly do you inspect?
An inspector should examine every aspect of the building and the surrounding property, and he/she should be able to give you a good idea of any repairs the home may need as well as if they home meets all necessary building codes and guidelines in your state.
2) How long have you been an inspector?
The more years an investor has been working, the more inspections he or she has completed.
3) How many inspections have you performed?
Again, the more experienced the inspector, the more likely he or she will catch any problems or finding damage.
4) Do you have any additional certifications or continuing education you’ve completed?
If an inspector has gone out of his/her way to receive more training, this shows they are serious about their job and likely up-to-date on any new inspection guidelines.
5) What kind of inspection report do you provide and when will I receive it?
An inspection report typically includes a summary of the examination of the property and lists any potential issues that affect you, the buyer.
6) How long will the inspection take?
Keep in mind, to thoroughly examine a property, a good home inspector will take 3-4 hours. Be wary of any inspector who says it will take less time.
7) What is the cost for a home inspection?
The cost for a home inspection varies depending on the location and the extent of the services, but a general home inspection usually ranges from $400 to $700.
8) Can you make any repairs for problems you found during the inspection?
Many associations and state governments strictly prohibit this practice as a conflict of interest, but some inspector associations and regulations might allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. It’s a good idea to do your own research and find out what is acceptable in your state.
9) Can I observe the home inspection?
A professional inspector will allow a home buyer’s participation, and it is the perfect opportunity to point out the good and bad findings during the inspection. Any inspector who does not allow you to observe and ask questions should raise a red flag. We recommend being present at the inspection. This is to your advantage. You will be able to clearly understand the inspection report, and know exactly which areas need attention. Plus, you can get answers to many questions, tips for maintenance, and a lot of general information that will help you once you move into your new home. Most important, you will see the home through the eyes of an objective third party.
10) Does the test include carbon monoxide?
11) How do you examine the roof and the furnace?
12) Do you offer additional inspection services, such as radon testing, well testing, mold, thermal imagery and heat/air loss (energy audits) and insect or termite infestation inspection?
13.) Should I test for Radon?
14.) Should I test for Lead?
Depending on the property you are considering, you may not need all of these additional services, but it is a good idea to know whether or not the inspector can do the testing or point you to someone who can. You may have some questions that are particular to you or the property. Is the property well and septic or sewer and public water? If so, should you consider a complete and through examination of the well and septic? Remember, a bank may require many of these tests, however they are testing things for their protection not yours. If a problem arises later you cannot look to the bank or lender for help.
Also you may be overly cautious. Some tests may not be necessary. These are for you to decide. Remember no property is perfect and everything can be repaired. It depends on you. A thorough home inspection can assist you in projecting what you will need to repair and how much money will be needed in the future.
By asking these questions, you will find a home inspector who can help you decide if the home you are interested in buying is really worth the price. If an inspector happens to find problems or needed repairs, you have several options – 1) negotiate that the seller makes the repairs before closing, 2) buy the home “as is,” or 3) walk away.