What to Ask a Home Inspector

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Home inspector at work (Photo: @photovs via Twenty20)
Once a buyer accepts your offer to buy their home, it’s important that you hire a home inspector to make sure there are no major problems with the house.
But what should you ask a home inspector during the home inspection process? Here are the most important questions to consider both before you hire an inspector and during the home inspection process.

Questions to Ask Before a Home Inspection

Hiring a home inspector doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few simple questions to ask before you hire a home inspector:

1. How long have you been inspecting homes?

It’s important that you have an idea of how long the inspector has been inspecting homes. In addition to asking them how long they’ve been doing home inspections, you should also ask for their credentials, such as their training and qualifications, any certifications that they have, and if they’re insured.

2. What do you check?

You should always ask what the home inspector will check. A good home inspector will discuss the inspection process with you before they inspect your home. This is the best time to ask them what they will be checking. At the same time, also ask what they don’t check.

3. How much does the home inspection cost?

A home inspection should cost between $300 and $600, but it can vary depending on the housing market in your area and the inspector. Most inspectors expect you to pay them the day of the inspection, so find out how much they charge beforehand.

4. How long will the home inspection take?

Done correctly, a home inspection should take two to three hours, though this usually depends on the size of your home.

Questions to Ask During a Home Inspection

On the day of your house inspection, chances are you will get an opportunity to speak to the home inspector. At this time, the inspector will go over any problems that they found with the home and begin to compile a written report. This is a good time to make sure you ask them about the inspection, especially if you don’t understand something. You can find some questions to ask below.

1. Can you explain what that means in more detail?

If the inspector tells you about a problem and you don’t understand what they are talking about, ask them to explain in more detail. A good inspector tries to be clear and concise, though the sometimes speak in industry jargon, which can be hard to understand.

2. Is the problem a big issue?

Even if the inspector identifies a problem, it may not be a big issue. When the inspector describes a problem to you, make sure to always ask how soon you should get the issue fixed. Some problems, such as a leaky roof, need immediate attention; others, such as an outlet not working properly, do not.

3. What are the biggest concerns with the property?

At the end of the inspection, ask your home inspector to lay out the top priorities that need attention. This allows you to make a plan for getting the items fixed, either by negotiating with the seller or on your own. You can also ask the inspector if they have an estimate of how much the problems will cost to have fixed.

Questions to Ask After a Home Inspection

After the home inspection is complete, make sure to ask the home inspector about next steps.

1 . Should I do a follow-up inspection?

Most inspectors will recommend a follow-up appointment a year after inspecting a newly constructed home. This inspection is to see if the problems you had in the prior inspection are still a problem or if any new issues have popped up.

2. What should I do after I move in?

Remember, you can always contact your home inspector at a later point if you forget something that they said. Most inspectors give their clients a detailed report on the home inspection, including notes on the problems that they found, as well as photos of the problem areas.