Knowing the right home inspection questions to ask can feel overwhelming. You're making a decision that will stick with you for the next 15 or 30 years. What if you forget to ask something important?
A quality home inspector will address each fear upfront. And most have their hearts in the right place. That's probably why nearly three-quarters of homebuyers acknowledge their home inspectors saved them from potential problems.
But you can't afford to take their word for it when ordering an inspection. We'll be equipping you with the knowledge and the questions you need to get the best possible performance out of your inspector.
What to Ask a Home Inspector
When considering your home inspection question gameplan, you need to show confidence and a sense that you've done your homework. In this section, we'll be detailing the 15 questions that will help you prove yourself.
Use this checklist as a guide. And if additional questions pop up as you move down the list, make note of them. These are meant to be asked in no particular order.
1. What Are Your Qualifications?
Perhaps one of the questions for a home inspector that you should start with is an inquiry into his or her qualifications. How long have they been doing what they do?
Ask for projects they've worked on. Consider seeking out those individuals or businesses independently to get a third-party view of what the experience was like and if the inspector missed any key details along the way.
2. Is the Home Insulation Adequate?
Another staple of what to ask during a home inspection is whether the insulation the home has is acceptable. Insulation is something you hardly see in your home, but you feel its effects more than anything else.
You feel it physically in how cool or warm your home is during the extreme summer and winter months, respectively. You also feel it financially in the size of your energy bills.
The home inspection time is a great opportunity to learn about the home's potential energy strengths and weaknesses. Most home inspectors will be able to give you a good sense of whether there's room for improvement.
3. How Much Longer Will the Roof Last?
Another of the key things to ask a home inspector is about the health of your roof. The typical roof lasts 30 years before it's time for a replacement. But you don't want to go by the date of the last installation alone.
If the inside of the home is showing water-spots or leaks, this can be an obvious sign that the roof needs to be either repaired or replaced. But it's a home inspector's job to make sure you're aware of the signs that perhaps are not visible to the naked eye.
Considering the average residential roof replacement can cost as much as $15,000, you cannot afford to ignore this question. A quality home inspector will know which areas are of concern.
4. Any Wiring Problems?
Electrical wiring issues are not always obvious. And if you have the wrong home inspector, he's liable to breeze right through this process so long as the lights are functional.
You don't want to find yourself strapped with a 30-year mortgage by the time you notice issues of concern. Watch for multiple, burnt, bulbs or strange burning smells from certain light fixtures that have been on for an extended period of time.
These issues can cost several thousand dollars to fix down the road. They also can present significant safety hazards to you and your family. It's only fair you know what you're getting into before deciding to buy or settling on an offer.
5. Do You Believe the Home Is Structurally Sound?
Any home inspector worth his asking price will know what to watch for on this question. But so should you so you can have confidence in the inspector with whom you are working.
All houses settle. But some homes have a bigger problem with it than others. To put your mind at ease, your inspector should be focusing on issues like:
- Stuck windows or doors
- Floors with "bounce" or ones that are uneven
- Cracks in drywall
- Bowing in the walls
- Cabinets that don’t stay closed
A quality home inspector will take the time to explain the warning signs. Make sure he or she is explaining the overall health of the structure in their review.
6. Do You Think This House Needs a Plumber?
Significant plumbing issues should be priority-one on a home inspector's list. That's because the cost to fix a home's plumbing system can go into the tens of thousands of dollars.
As with most of the questions on this list, it helps to do some self-education before going into this with the inspector. Be aware of signs like these:
- Low water pressure
- Leaky pipes or faucets
- Slow or clogged drains
This question is an important one because it forces the home inspector to evaluate the house as an engaged party. If there's truly something that would hold you up in the buying process, the question forces it out of the inspector and gives you something to think about before making an offer.
7. Anything That Needs an Expert?
There are some nagging issues with every home. That may not keep you from making an offer on the home, however. Nor should it.
But before you decide what to do, address with your home inspector the severity of whatever the issue is upfront. Ask them if the issue is enough to require an expert or if it's something that could be handled with a little elbow grease.
8. Will the House Need to Be Brought Up to Code?
Home building codes have changed over time. Usually, older homes will have a "grandfathering" clause that prevents them from having to meet costly upgrades. But this could also be up to the jurisdiction where you live.
Home inspectors are knowledgeable about the most recent codes for where they work. They'll be able to tell you if there is anything that absolutely must be brought up to code.
These Home Inspection Questions Will Protect You from Buyer's Remorse
Buyer's remorse is a very real thing. When you have it over a trinket you bought in a store, it's easy to get over. But when it's a purchase that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and takes 30 years to pay off, it's a harder pill to swallow.
Keeping the home inspection questions presented here in mind will prevent that from happening. And if you're ready for a mortgage but want to save as much money as possible, contact Seattle's Mortgage Broker today.