Before interviewing a Home Inspector, it’s important for homebuyers to know what types of questions to ask. Looking at a few sample home inspections can help homebuyers and sellers understand home inspection terminology as well as what is and is not covered in a home inspection report. Many insurance companies require an inspection before insuring a homeowner, in order to protect the buyer. For sellers, knowing the condition of your home can help set an asking price.
Here are a few questions to ask your home inspector:
• Are you licensed?
• How long have you been working in this industry?
• May I speak with previous clients?
• What are my payment options? Some smaller companies only take cash or check.
• How long before I receive my inspection report?
Home inspectors should not give recommendations as to professionals that can fix problems that are found. They should only recommend a specialist be called in. This prevents inspectors from taking a kickback on referrals. When receiving a bid for home inspections, expect a ballpark figure, as a variety of factors can affect the final outcome.
As far as the home inspection report, here’s what you can expect:
• A photograph of the property
• A breakdown of the following:
o Exterior condition
o Grounds condition
o Patio Covers (if applicable)
o Grading/Drainage/Landscaping Conditions
o Plumbing Condition
o Electrical Component Conditions
o Heating System Conditions
o Kitchen Conditions
o Building Interior General Condition
o Garage/Carport Condition
o Supplemental Photographs where needed to demonstrate damage or location of shutoffs and other key components of the property.
• Detailed description of potential problems with these components.
• Recommendations for resolution of problems.
Any number of problems can be detected with a thorough home inspection report from window leakage, drainage issues, uneven walkways, heating system problems, poor insulation and the list goes on. The purpose of these reports is to assess potential problems as well as the cost to have problems fixed, which should come off of the price of the home.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than making an investment in a property that looks goods but turns out to have hidden flaws that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix. Most inspections uncover flaws not visible to the untrained eye. Many professionals now use thermal imaging equipment in order to detect water and air leaks that would not be apparent without it.
Feel free to contact several professionals before making a final decision. You should be able to trust your home inspector. Your investment is in their hands.