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5 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

So you’ve found a home and need to take the next big step, seeing if there is anything hidden you need to know about.

Many home inspectors seem to be speaking a different language when using terms like “serviceable condition” and “conducive to deterioration.” Here are 5 things you need to ask and understand about your new home so you can make a smart decision whether to go forward or not.

1-How bad is it – really?

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether something a home inspector finds is a big deal or not. This is information you really need to know so you can decide whether to move forward with the deal, whether to renegotiate, and what to plan ahead for if you do go through with your purchase.

If you attend the inspection, simply ask whether or not something they say needs fixing is a big deal. Nine times out of ten they will verbally give you the information you need to understand the seriousness of something they found.

2-Who would I have fix that?

Many things a home inspector finds and lists on his report can be fixed by a do-it-yourselfer. even on the larger repairs, your home inspector might be able to give you a few referrals to the plumbers, electricians or roofers you’ll need to get bids from during your contingency period, which you may be able to use to negotiate with your home’s seller, and to get the work done after you own the place.

The same goes for any further inspections they may recommend – if neither you nor your agent knows a specialist, ask the general home inspector for a few referrals. They usually know experts they can refer you to.

Also of Interest  Home and Building Inspectors: What to Look For

3- If this was your house, what would you fix, and when?

Your home inspector’s job is to point out everything, within the scope of the inspection, that might need repair, replacement, maintenance or further inspection. But they are also experienced enough to know that no home is perfect, and can tell you what you should fix, versus just what you need to be aware of watch it.

This question positions your home inspector to help you:

  • understand what does and doesn’t need to be repaired,
  • prioritize the work you plan to do to your home (and budget or negotiate with the seller accordingly),
  • get used to the constant maintenance that is part and parcel of homeownership, and
  • understand the importance of having a home warranty plan

4-Can you point that out to me?

At the end of the inspection, while you’re all still in the property, just ask the inspector to take 10 or 15 minutes and walk you through the place, pointing out all the items they’ve noted need repair, maintenance or further inspection. When you get the report, then, you’ll know what and where the various items belong.

5-Can you show me how to work that?

Many home inspectors are delighted to show you how to operate various mechanical or other systems in your home, and will walk you through the steps of operating everything from your thermostat, to your water heater, to your stove and dishwasher – and especially the emergency shutoffs for your gas, water and electrical utilities. This one question alone can be worth the cost of your home inspection.

Also of Interest  Home Inspection Advice from Consumer Reports

Buying a home is stressful enough. Take advantage of your home inspectors’ knowledge to lessen the fears you may have when you read his/her report by making sure you ask these questions. You’ll be glad you did.

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