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What Questions Should You Ask a Home Inspector?

By Michelle Gibson | August 16, 2019

A home inspection is something you need to do before buying or selling a home. It is a thorough examination of the condition of the home to determine recommended repairs and other maintenance concerns. For the buyer, a home inspection is needed to know exactly what they are buying so that they can be ready for the potential repair costs. The sellers know the repair issues that could discourage potential buyers so that they fix them or price the home accordingly.

Before the Inspection

How long does a home inspection take?

It depends on various factors unique to each home such as the size of the home, number of floors, age of the home, among others. For most homes, a home inspection takes 2-3 hours. It is highly recommended that you be present during the inspection. The inspector may take a day or two to prepare the full report.

How much does it cost?

On average, a home inspection costs between $300 to $600. However, it depends on the type of property; condo, townhome or single family home. It also depends on the size of the property. Larger properties will certainly cost a lot more than a 700 square foot condo.

What should be inspected?

The areas commonly covered in a home inspection are the roof, foundation, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, water and sewage, fire and safety systems, and electrical systems. Additionally, the inspector also looks for evidence of insect, water and fire damage, mold, and any other issue that affects the value of your home.

After the Inspection

What does this mean?

This is a question that you should ask a lot. There's a high chance that you don't understand many parts of the inspection report or some of the complicated terms used. If there is anything that you feel needs clarification, just ask. Once you have the report, write down all the questions you have and go through them with the inspector and make sure you understand everything perfectly.

What fire, safety, water, and health hazards exist?

Before doing cosmetic repairs, you should first focus on the fire, safety, water and health hazards such as gas leaks, mold, faulty electrical wiring, among others.

Can you recommend a professional to help me deal with the problem?

Home inspectors are knowledgeable about most problems that affect homes, but not in detail. They may be able to identify a problem but lack the ability to fix it or go into detail about the problem. If, for instance, the inspector discovers a serious problem with the electrical system, you should ask them to recommend a professional electrician to help you fix it.

In what order should I do the repairs?

If the inspector identified a number of problems, some of them will have more weight than others. Using his experience, the inspector should be able to tell you what you need to fix first and what can wait.

Are these problems normal wear and tear?

It is normal to feel scared when the inspection report has a long list of repair issues that need to be handled. However, there are many issues that will appear on that list that are signs of normal wear and tear. Seek clarification on which issues are really problematic or need immediate attention and which ones can wait.

If you had 'X' amount of money, how would you spend it on this house?

Try to keep the 'X' amount as close as possible to your repair budget. It is helpful to learn how the inspector would go about making repairs if it was his own home. It helps you have a better idea of the urgency of some repair issues compared to others and how to prioritize them to fit your budget.

How much will everything cost?

Everything that appears on the list of repairs is fixable. Knowing how much it will cost will help you to make key decisions before buying or selling the property. If you are a seller, you will know how much you need to spend on your home to make it perfect. If you are a buyer, you will know how much money you need to spend on top of the buying price to make the home ready for occupation. It also helps during negotiations as each party is fully aware of the condition of the home and the amount of money needed to repair everything.

Final Thoughts

Home buyers should never skip a home inspection and always ask questions. Knowing what they're getting into from the start could save them thousands of dollars.

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Additional Real Estate Advice from Top Professionals

  • It's not uncommon for sellers to have their home inspection prior to listing it for sale. The main purpose sellers do this is to find and fix issues. Although in addition to finding and fixing they also plan on giving it to prospective buyers. Giving a pre-inspection to a buyer has many pros and cons, which should be weighed.
  • Homebuyers often wonder do I really need a home inspection? The short answer is yes! There are countless reasons homebuyers need to have their future home inspected. Purchasing a home is usually the single biggest investment people make in their life and they should know exactly what they're getting into.
  • Having a home inspection is the first step to finding out if there are any issues with a home. It's also a great way to create a maintenance list for the future too. Unlike renting owning a home involves annual and sometimes monthly maintenance, such as changing out AC filters. It's very important for homeowners to stay on top of regular maintenance otherwise little issues can turn into big issues.
  • A home inspection isn't a tool to renegotiate a contract. However, sometimes there are some unforeseen issues and a credit might be in order. This doesn't include small things or things that are clearly visible. This is for major things, like a roof leak or faulty electrical. Things nobody was aware of, including the seller.

About the Author

Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “What Questions Should You Ask a Home Inspector?.”

Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you're looking to buy, sell or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you're ready to put Michelle's knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.

Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres and more.

Michelle Gibson is a top Realtor who has been specializing in residential real estate throughout Wellington Florida since 2001. She enjoys sharing her real estate experiences with buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants through her writing.
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