Purchasing a home can be a daunting task. If you have never gone through the process before, it can make it that much more stressful. So what are some questions you should ask the home inspector before and during the home inspection?
We are going to break down the critical questions you should ask during your home inspection so you can feel more confident in your home purchase.
What Is A Home Inspection?
Before jumping in, we should know what a home inspection is. For quick reference, a home inspection is an independent evaluation of a property and its structure. Typically, this is requested during a real estate transaction, but not always.
Homebuyers hire licensed home inspectors to evaluate the property’s condition, report on the general condition, and recommend specialized contractors where needed.
Now that we know what a home inspection is, let’s get into the questions.
7 Must-Ask Questions Before the Inspection
Before you actually have a home inspection, you need to hire a home inspector. These are the questions you should ask your potential home inspector. You should not just hire the home inspector your real estate agent recommends.
1. What are your credentials & experience?
- Ask for industry affiliations like InterNACHI, FABI, or ASHI.
- Ask for years of experience as a home inspector and compare to their competitors.
- Ask for state licensing, if needed. Some states do not require licensing.
- Ask how many inspections they have completed. The more inspections, the more experience they have.
- Ask what their Google reviews, Facebook reviews, or Yelp reviews say?
2. What Does Your Report Include or Exclude?
- Does your inspection cover the pool?
- Does your inspection cover the sprinkler system?
- Will you walk the attic?
- Will you walk the roof or what will you do if you cannot safely walk the roof?
- Will you go into the crawlspace?
- Do you do thermography with your home inspections?
- Do you inspect detached buildings or garages? (Most inspectors will for an additional fee).
3. When Will I Receive the Report?
Sometimes you can be on a time crunch so this is important! You may also want to ask: how long are your reports and do they contain pictures?
Keep in mind, sometimes a shorter and more concise report is worth more than a lengthy report that is hard to understand. Ask if there is a sample report that you can review.
4. Do You Have an Agreement I Need to Sign?
All home inspectors should require the clients to sign an inspection agreement. If they do not, this is a huge flag!
The inspection agreement outlines what the inspection includes and what it does not include.
5. How Long Does Your Inspection Take?
This can be useful to find out how thorough their inspection is. However, do not solely rely on this. An inspection company may send out multiple inspectors to make the time of inspection faster for you and your Realtor. On the other hand, a faster inspection may just be because the inspector is more knowledgeable.
Use this as a guide only and to watch out for extremities. If an inspector says he will take 4 hours on a 1500 square foot home, this is off. On the other hand, if they say they will take 30 minutes on a 1500 square foot home, this is off.
On average, a single home inspectors can inspect 1,000 square feet per hour!
6. Will You Give Me a Summary After the Inspection is Completed?
Be sure your inspector will not just walk away after he is finished with the inspection. Ask the home inspector if you get to see their pictures and ask your questions after they complete the inspection.
8. How Much Does Your Home Inspection Cost?
Home inspection costs can vary from inspection company to inspection company. Learn the truth about home inspection costs so you know what to expect.
Ask These Questions to Multiple Inspection Companies!
Do not just settle with an inspection company because it was referred to you. Do your research and be sure you are comfortable with them. After all, this is one of the largest investments you will ever make.
6 Must Ask Questions During the Home Inspection
In most cases, following around the home inspector and asking questions is not a good idea. Home inspectors are completing a routine job. With interruptions, this can cause them to stray from their routine. Think of it as someone trying to talk to you while you’re trying to read at the same time. Your split focus can result in missing details with both the conversation and what you are reading.
The best plan of action is to follow the inspector if you want to be there with him/her, but keep your questions until the final review. (Pro tip: bring a notepad to the inspection or use a note-taking app on your phone to keep track of your questions so you don’t forget them.)
You can also bring our home inspection checklist with you to the home inspection!
Here are some great questions to ask your inspector after their review.
1. What is the condition of the roof and what is the life expectancy?
A roof replacement is costly. If needed, you can negotiate the price of the roof in your deal. Knowing the life expectancy can help you plan for future expenses.
2. What is the condition of the HVAC system and what is the life expectancy?
Replacing the air conditioning and heating system can be several thousands of dollars or more. Knowing when you should expect to budget for this expense will be helpful.
3. What is the condition of the electrical system and will it need updating?
In newer homes, you may not need to worry about outdated electrical. However, in older homes (before 1990s), this may be a concern. Asking the inspector this question can help you prepare for expenses of a few hundred to a few thousand for replacement of the electrical panel or wiring. View our electrical category of blogs for issues that can arise during your home inspection.
4. What is the condition of the plumbing system and will it need updating?
This is about the same answer as electrical above. Most newer homes will not require major updates. However, if you have cast iron or polybutylene, you may need to update in order to get insurance on the home.
5. What is the condition of the home’s structure?
This is a pretty generic and basic question, but you should still ask just in case the inspector noticed signs of potentially serious structural or foundation problems.
6. Does water flow away from the home and are there any grading issues?
Ensuring that the water flows away from the home is important to avoid structural issues and water intrusion. Adjustments to grading or repairs from constant water ponding can be costly.
The Bottom Line
Hiring the right home inspector is critical to know what you are purchasing. Use these questions before you hire a home inspector and then during the home inspection so you can make educated decisions to your investment.
After your home inspection, be sure to thoroughly read your report and then call your home inspector if you have additional clarifying questions.
Waypoint Property Inspection completes home inspections in the Tampa Bay, FL Area. They are the largest and highest-rated.