It’s easy to get caught up in interior design and exterior paint but when it comes to ensuring that the house you are buying is in good condition, that can easily fall aside if it isn’t obvious. This can be taken care of by a good home inspector.
A good home inspector will do everything they should without you asking any questions. But you need to leave room for those who are doing the bare minimum as well as room to clear your mind and lift the weight.
What Is A Home Inspector?
A home inspector inspects homes during their sale in a non-invasive way. Meaning, they don’t tear the home apart in order to check for specific problems. But instead, survey the surface of the entire house.
Home inspectors are trained to check everything inside and out of the home. They will check for any hazards regarding the plumbing, electricity, HVAC, and more. The home inspection is paid for by the home buyers.
Important Questions To Ask Home Inspector
Now, we’ve already mentioned that the buyer of a home pays for the home inspection but we haven’t mentioned why. The home inspection is paid for by the buyers so that they can feel good about the inspector before they begin.
If the seller pays for the inspection and picks the inspector, the buyer may always wonder if it was all on the up-and-up. So it’s important that the buyer pays for the inspector and picks them out themselves.
How Much Will I Pay For Your Services?
This is the first question you should ask. It’s quite possible for a home inspector to be out of your budget and that’s okay. There’s no point in discussing the matters at hand unless you can afford the inspection.
Most home inspections cost somewhere between $300 and $450. So if they charge much more than $500 you may want to check a few other inspectors before committing to them as they may be overcharging.
Do You Have References?
References are important for any company or business. If they don’t have any then ask how long they’ve been in the business. From there, it’s your choice whether you let them inspect your home or not.
If they are new, then feel free to give them a chance, especially if you yourself don’t see anything wrong with the home you are buying. If you don’t have any concerns, then you can be their first reference.
What Is The Usual Verdict?
If they do have references, then ask them what the previous reports have been. Have the reports always ended up with major problems or have most of them said no problems at all? Both of these are concerning.
If there are always major problems it may mean they never let a home pass but if they never have problems, it may mean they aren’t inspecting the home well. So ask for references, as mentioned above, to find out.
Do I Need To Prep Anything?
Before they arrive, ask them if you or the previous homeowner need to prepare anything. They may need you to do certain things such as move furniture or leave all the lights on in the house if you won’t be there.
It shouldn’t be anything major and if they ask for too much then cross-reference other inspectors to ensure that this is normal. Don’t do anything dangerous like climb up onto the roof as this is not the norm.
What Will You Inspect?
This is crucial because you need to know their list of things that they will check. If they don’t mention everything that another inspector checks then go with the one that checks the most as they will cover more.
However, prioritize references over the number of things that they inspect. Some inspectors may charge you more because they inspect more when they are inspecting things that don’t need to be checked.
What Is Left Out?
There will be certain things that inspectors do not check. There is a list of things that is illegal for them not to check during the sale of a home. But there are things that land in the gray area for inspectors.
These things are dependent upon whether or not you think they need to be checked. Every inspector will have some of these especially if the technology is really old or really new and the inspector doesn’t normally see it.
Can I Watch?
If the inspector doesn’t let anyone watch them inspect the home, it’s a red flag. While you really don’t need to watch them, it’s not a good sign if they won’t let you to watch as they may not be doing a good job.
So ask them if you can watch. Whether you actually watch or not is up to you but it’s important that you are allowed to if you so choose. Or at least that the seller is there with them when they are inspecting.
How Much Will That Cost?
This is something you should ask for each thing that they say is a problem. Ask them how much it will cost so you can budget it in and so that you know how much to expect from the company that will be fixing it.
If the company gives you a quote much higher than what the inspector told you it will cost then ask another company or contractor. This will let you know if it’s regional or if it’s just that company overcharging.
Does This Need To Be Fixed?
Always have a list of concerns nearby that you can address when the inspector is present. You need to address everything you’ve noticed by going through the home before they arrive and noting anything abnormal.
These could be electrical outlets that look strange or ones that are in unsafe areas. Perhaps the plumbing pipes are above them or something else that doesn’t seem safe to your eyes. Ask the inspector about it.
Is There Any Mold?
Always ask the inspector to check for mold in the home. Mold is a serious problem and not just a surface problem. If there is mold then you need to know how deep it is and where else it can be found.
If the mold is in a small area in the basement, it’s not much of a concern and can be removed. But if it is in the basement and the kitchen floor, this could be very dangerous, so have a mold inspection too.
Is There A Likelihood Of Asbestos?
Asbestos is found in old homes built or remodeled prior to 1980. It was made illegal in the 1970s but there is always an overlap as private businesses supplied it for a few years after this, some without knowing it.
This asbestos can cause serious health issues but is usually okay if left untouched. That said, it is usually found in popcorn ceilings, old insulation, and under floor tiles. So ask an inspector of you should check for it.
Does This Paint Have Lead?
Again, lead paint isn’t legal anymore because it was outlawed in the 1970s. However, older homes may have lead paint. Ask the inspector if they think it could be a possibility and then send a sample off to the lab.
Lead paint may not seem serious as no one is going to eat the paint chips unless you have dogs or children. However, even with adults, the paint can flake and you can unknowingly inhale them, and become ill.
Do You Have Connections?
Before you let them go, ask them if they have any connections or recommendations for people who can fix the problems that they have encountered. But do not just take their word for it. Instead, ask them why.
If they say that the contractor is an old friend of theirs, don’t trust them. They are being a good friend but they could also just be letting someone underqualified fix your problem, which could become a bigger problem.
What Are The Fire Hazards?
Fire hazards are an important thing to check. So ask specifically if there are any fire hazards in the home so you can address them as soon as possible and definitely before you move into your new home.
What Are The Water Hazards?
Water hazards can be just as important as fire hazards, however, they are a slower burn. They can break down your home’s foundation until one day it simply collapses. So check for water damage and any other water-related concerns.
What Are The Health Hazards?
Health hazards include asbestos, mold, lead paint, and other similar concerns. So ask the inspector if there is anything like this that they need to check. If they already checked the previous three without you asking, then you can probably trust them.
What Would You Do?
Finally, the most important question. Inspectors don’t just tell you what to do, they just give you the report for your home. But what you can do is ask them this very helpful question.
“What would you do if this was your new home?”