Things to Ask About in a Home Inspection
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A home inspection is one of the most crucial steps in the buying process, and the last thing you want when buying a home is to move in only to find there are major issues that were overlooked by the inspection. If you have the time, the inspection can be a great opportunity to not only make sure you’re getting a thorough inspection but to also learn a few things about your new home as well.
Taking the time to ask your inspector a few key questions can set a good foundation for your new homeownership journey, vet your inspector and catch any potential problems before it’s too late. Read on to learn what questions to ask so you can go into your home inspection prepared.
Before the inspection even starts, you can ask your inspector what they look for and what exactly they’re going to do during the inspection. A good inspector is looking to take an inventory of absolutely everything — from the roof to the foundation.
Depending on the type of home you’re buying, you may want to look for someone with specialized experience or a history of inspecting similar homes. For example, if you’re buying an antique home, historic property or a fixer-upper, you may want to look for someone that specializes in historic properties.
Home inspectors are generally restricted to a visual inspection only. If they happen to flag a potential problem based on visual cues, it will then be up to another expert — such as a roofer, plumber or HVAC technician — to perform a more detailed assessment.
You likely already have a general idea of what to expect based on the age, build and size of your home, but your inspector should have even more insight into common problems associated with your type of home. Think of it like a car — a good mechanic will be able to spot potential issues based on the year, make and model of your vehicle. In the same way, a good inspector will have a general idea of what to look for in a new-build home versus an older home.
Should your inspector come across a potential problem, don’t panic. Even if a repair sounds major, it might actually be fairly easy or inexpensive to fix. In other cases, a seemingly small problem could be a deal breaker. To get a better understanding of what you’re working with and how to proceed, ask your inspector for their professional input.
If your inspector does flag a serious problem, like an electrical or plumbing issue, you will likely need to call in another expert to examine it more closely and give an estimate on repair costs.
There may be nothing wrong at the time of inspection, but there could be appliances or systems in your home that will need replacing within the next year or so. Check with your inspector to see if there’s anything you should look out for or if any major appliances — water heaters, air conditioning condensers, furnaces, etc.— are on their way out.
Obvious hazards include a lack of smoke detectors or visible wear and tear in your home’s construction, but there are hidden safety hazards as well to be aware of — especially if you plan on eventually doing renovations. Mold, lead paint and asbestos are all highly hazardous materials that you could be exposed to in a home. Even small signs of water damage could indicate that your home has mold, which can pose a major health risk to your family.
This is just a short list to help you get started but feel free to do more research on your own prior to your inspection. Whether you’re buying or selling, another great asset to have by your side is a good agent. They’ll be able to keep you informed, refer you to a reputable inspector and be there with you every step of the way. Good luck!What do you look for?How much experience do you have?What don’t you check?What are common issues associated with this type of home?What is the severity of this issue?Should I call in another expert?Will anything need to be replaced soon?Are there any safety hazards?