A home inspector’s job is to ensure that you have a complete understanding of a property that you’re looking to purchase. Asking the right questions will ensure that there’s no stone left unturned, and will ensure that you actually understand the condition of the home and don’t get caught up in the technicalities of the home inspection report you’ll be presented with. Below, we’ll cover the different crucial questions you’ll want to ask your home inspector to help determine whether you should purchase a property.
1. Are you licensed and insured?
This is where you’ll want to start, as you want to make sure you’re working with a truly licensed professional rather than one who’s working under no or an expired license. All states don’t require inspectors to be insured, but this is a good question to ask in case they miss a leak or problem with the house (and you’ll be able to get your insurance to cover that repair).
2. How big of a problem is this?
After your inspection, you will likely be slapped with a 50+ page document. Instead of trying to decipher it yourself, make sure to ask the inspector to discuss key findings with you and detail the level of concern warranted for each. The inspector will also let you know when you need an expert to look into a particular problem – while they’re skilled in many areas related to the inspection, you will not expect them to have a comprehensive understanding of every single issue that might come up. The inspector will also be able to tell you if problems are “normal” given your particular area or climate.
3. What should I fix as soon as I move?
You should always ask your home inspector what repairs need to be taken care of immediately. Waiting too long and letting certain problems simmer will only make things worse (and more costly) in the long run, so you’ll want to face them head-on as soon as you move in. This is also an important question for budgeting purposes as you prepare for your move and plan for your first year of costs.
4. What is the condition of the roof?
The roof is a main area to question with your inspector, as roof damage is very costly and possibly dangerous if left unattended. If there’s clear damage to the roof, wood shingles, or gutters, this can be something that you ask the sellers to take care of, or you can ask that the asking price be adjusted accordingly if you’ll have to handle the repairs or replacement yourself.
5. How is the insulation?
Insulation is a main factor in how you’ll budget for your heating and cooling bills throughout the seasons. You want to ask about an R-value of at least 60 and ask what kind of insulation was used, as each has a set of pros and cons and possible health risks. In considering the airflow, the inspector will also likely conduct a door test.
6. How’s the foundation?
The foundation needs to be solid, and you should ask about the building materials used, such as ICF, wood frame, and concrete homes since all have different problems for you to look out for. If the inspector finds any cracks or damage, you might want an expert to come in to evaluate, as foundational damage can be quite costly.
By asking the proper questions, you’ll be able to ensure that your investment is a great one. Once you’ve received the report, it’s important to make sure that you go through it carefully and ask questions – there are going to be technical aspects that don’t make sense to the everyday reader. Furthermore, if your inspector recommends that you follow up with additional experts, it’s in your best interest to do so.
Sam Willis is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on real estate. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia where he enjoys spending time with his wife and researching real estate trends in his free time. Sam’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource launching in Fall 2022.