Home inspections are one of the most critical parts of buying a home. They make sure that when purchasing your dream home, you don't get stuck with unexpected repairs.
As such, it’s valuable to attend your home inspection. After all, they are there to help you make a fully informed decision on the purchase. In addition, attending the home inspection allows you to see what the inspector sees, ask questions, and get a better understanding than you would if you just read the inspection report.
But what kinds of questions should you ask? To help you out, we’ve provided some example questions that are good to ask before, during, and after an inspection.
Why you should ask questions
Asking questions of your home inspector is your chance to get to know more about the house you are considering buying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - after all, you’re paying for their expertise, and they are there to help you.
The more questions you ask, the less uncertainty you’ll have down the road.
Questions for before
The best place to start is by asking questions before the inspection begins. You’ll only be with them for a few hours, so it’s crucial to make the most of your time. Here are some good questions to ask.
Below, we’ve outlined questions that are good to ask after you hire your inspector. If you haven’t chosen a home inspector yet, check out this article.
Can we attend the inspection?
If possible, you should always attend your home inspection! Not only do you get more information, but you can also have the inspector explain things to you in person so you can visualize their findings.
However, too many cooks in the kitchen can significantly slow down the inspection, so it’s best to limit the number of attendees. Typically, only the buyer(s) and their agent attend the inspection, but the seller’s agent will in some cases.
What do you look for in a home inspection?
Many people aren’t quite sure of what a home inspector checks. Asking this question ensures you understand what the priorities are. In addition, it will help you know what to look for yourself.
Is there anything not inspected?
Home inspectors can’t cover everything. Often, inspectors are limited to a visual inspection. For example, they can’t tear down drywall or move large items to check behind them.
If they believe there’s a potential issue, they may recommend bringing in a specialist to do a more detailed assessment.
How long does an inspection take?
Inspection time does vary depending on the size, age, and condition of the house. The typical range is about 2-3 hours for a standard inspection. However, it can run longer if you have any ancillary services performed.
This is important to know for scheduling the inspection, especially if the sellers still live in the property.
Questions for during
The most important thing about attending your home inspection is understanding the issues discovered. Since you’ll only have a few hours in person with your inspector, it’s best to get as much information as you can. Here are some good questions to ask during the inspection.
What does this mean?
The home inspector will walk you through the entire house, pointing out defects, potential concerns, and safety issues. The most important thing is to ensure that you understand the problems. Be sure to ask plenty of clarifying questions until you feel comfortable grasping what the inspector is showing you.
Is this a minor issue or a major one?
Buying a home is one of the best financial decisions you can make. But… as said before, no home is perfect. If the inspector discovers a concern, you’ll want to know the severity.
Truth be told, there will likely be numerous problems. However, most of them are minor inconveniences, not safety concerns. Therefore, your priority should be to determine if the house is in an acceptable condition compared to your offer.
It’s important to know that home inspectors aren’t going to tell you how much repairs might cost—just that they are present. Defects are usually categorized into three issues: safety hazard, needs repaired, and monitor for future maintenance.
What is this?
Do you see something you think is concerning? Ask about it! While it might be nothing significant, it’s always good to ask. You want to make sure that you are comfortable purchasing the property, and you probably won’t be able to do that if you think the inspector missed something.
How long will the roof last?
Okay, maybe not this exact question. You’ll want to determine how long you should expect the core components, systems, and appliances to last. The idea here isn’t necessarily to back out of the deal (or request a lower price) but to help you budget for repairs down the road.
Are there any major concerns?
Before leaving, make sure you double-check with the inspector to get their final thoughts. Of course, no home is without its issues, but you should be aware of the big ones.
And if there are major concerns? Well, that is why you’re getting an inspection—to protect you. Now you can go back to the sellers and request a repair, lower closing cost, or reconsider your investment.
Questions for after
So, the inspection is complete and you got a pretty good understanding of important issues. Now that the inspector has given you the inspection report, here are some good questions to ask.
Can you clarify this for me?
Typically, you should receive the inspection report within 24 hours of the inspection. You’ll be provided with a detailed report of all defects, including photos and explanations. No matter how diligent you were during the inspection, you’ll most likely have some unanswered questions afterward.
Who should I contact for a specialized inspection?
If the inspector recommends a more detailed inspection (typically of a specific system, such as HVAC or plumbing), they’ll usually refer you to an expert they know. Home inspectors are general experts, but they don’t typically know the specifics. For issues that need to be looked at further, they’ll usually know someone who you can contact.
What not to ask your inspector
While you should always feel comfortable asking questions, there are some things that we recommend you don't ask.
Should I buy this house?
Honestly, there is no such thing as a stupid question, and you should feel comfortable asking your inspector anything related to the property and its condition. However, home inspectors will not give their opinion on whether or not you should move forward with the purchase.
As you can imagine, this puts them in an awkward position, and something that may make one person uneasy might not be a concern at all to the next. For liability reasons, they will hesitate to give out advice or suggestions.
We hope this guide helped you understand what questions are helpful to ask during the home inspection process. We know it can be overwhelming handling all of the different aspects of buying a home, so, hopefully, this article will help you breathe a little easier.
Are you still looking for a good home inspector? If so, we can help! We have a nationwide network of thousands of top-rated home inspectors. You can book an inspection in just 3 easy steps:
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- Sit back and relax while we manage the rest!
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