You’ve done your homework: researching the real estate market, school districts, mortgage fees, and even the home inspection company. You’re sure that you can understand a simple inspection report, don’t just leave after you shake hands with the inspector. Here are a few questions you should ask your inspector.
Quick tip: Be present during the home inspection. In fact, ask if you can tour the house along with the inspector. According to Business Insider and other authorities, doing so will give you a better understanding of the inspection process. You should not pester the inspector of course, but he or she would probably be fine with you shadowing.
1. How bad is it really?
Home inspectors are usually very blunt when detailing their findings. The inspector must list every issue they discover, no matter the size. This transparency is great for records, but it can overwhelm the layperson. Ask your inspector how serious a condition is before you react: low water pressure sounds ominous, but you should be more concerned about bad wiring. Most states don’t allow home inspectors to give you an estimate for a repair, but they will be able to tell you if an issue is minor or major,
2. Who should I have fix that?
Once you know the magnitude of a problem, you can ask your inspector to recommend a contractor. For most small issues, the inspector might direct you to the nearest hardware store and explain what you need to do (or suggest a few YouTube tutorials). For larger repairs, your home inspector will likely be familiar with local contractors. Some inspectors might have good relationships with contractors–and you might be able to use that detail to book a quicker appointment!
3. If this was your house, what would you fix and when?
The inspector is the expert, after all. Asking what she/he would do personally will help you prioritize the work you’ll be doing on your home (you’ll almost certainly making at least a few small changes to the house before you move in and as you settle in to your new home). This will also help your shift in mindset: home ownership means home maintenance. Some repairs need to be immediate, but others can be postponed–this question will help you determine each.
4. Can you point that out to me?
As we mentioned above, ask if you can follow your inspector as she/he tours the house. If that is not an option (some people just don’t like to be watched while they’re working), ask for a quick walkthrough at the end of the inspection. Get the inspector to point out specific issues or areas of concern. You’ll understand the final report much better if you can picture the actual problem.
5. Can you show me how to work that?
You know that every house has an emergency shutoff for water, but you’re not sure where it is in this house. You wouldn’t replace a functional thermostat, but you have never seen a dial like this. Simply ask your home inspector to show you where or how to do something. This simple question will save you hours of stress during an emergency.
Buying a new home is exciting, but don’t let your dreams of domesticity muddle your vision! The home inspection can be less stressful and more productive. Take time with your home inspection: be present, ask questions, and get answers!