Questions for Your Home Inspector

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Questions for Your Home InspectorBuying a home (especially your first) can be an extremely exciting experience. And when you finally find the “home of your dreams” you just want to get in there and nest like a swallow in winter.

And while it may look perfect to you and you can’t possibly imagine there being a thing wrong underneath the “hood,” it’s still ever important to have that Home buyer inspection as an added layer of protection. A home inspection gives you the security of knowing the home’s bones and electrical and plumbing systems are in tip-top shape, and should there be something uncovered, it gives you leverage in the bargaining process so that you can either request a reduction in the price for necessary improvements or even an out should necessary fixes threaten to turn your dream home into a money pit.

A home inspection can be a scary thing if you’ve fallen in love with your new place, so you might be a little intimidated about asking a whole bunch of questions. And while most professional home inspectors are indeed thorough, you still need to be sure you clearly understand the ramifications of anything they turn up.

So we’ve laid out a few key questions you should ask when you schedule your next home inspection.

Are you a member of any professional home inspector associations? There are several industry associations that home inspectors join to stay abreast of industry related issues as well as continuing education opportunities. Ask for any credentialing information and follow up to ensure they maintain a good reputation in the industry.

Exactly what will this inspection cover? As thorough as home inspectors might be, you still need to know what areas of the home they are looking closely at and what systems might not exactly fall under their purview. After the home inspection, you should receive a rather comprehensive report that identifies a prioritized list of key issues that need to be addressed.

Be sure to ask what will be on that report and find out if photos will be included. That will help you to locate and identify these areas yourself when you are ready to address them.

How well does water drain away from the house? Water run off is a very important issue with home longevity. Water becomes the enemy of your foundation as it drains and finds ways to gain access into the bones of your home.

You should understand how well your prospective new home is set for draining water away from its foundation and what you might expect to pay to maintain a good foundation over the course of the next 10 years before your buy.

If you were buying this house, what issues would you address first? This is a good question to ask an inspector to get them into your mindset. Believe it or not, many inspectors work myopically, they may not realize exactly what you don’t know. Asking them to put themselves in your place reminds them you don’t do this kind of stuff everyday. A prioritized list can help you plan your budget and get your ducks all in a row before you buy.

How much is that going to cost to fix? It seems silly to ask because that’s exactly what the home inspector is there for, but the whole home buying process can be overwhelming and things get lost in the shuffle. Don’t let this. You will need to understand the scope and costs of any remodel jobs, and your inspector has years of experience from which to draw. Often, they are contractors themselves, so they would be able to estimate cost and labor for most home improvement projects that may turn up in an inspection.

Your home inspector relies on years of experience to determine the livability of your new home. Rely on that experience to inform yourself. Home buying is a pretty big step and it entails a huge investment of time, energy and, yes, money. You want to be an informed investor so you know exactly what you’re getting before you buy.

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