Questions To Ask Your Inspector.
Buying a home gets complicated, but one of the most vital parts of the process (and one that people often overlook) is a thorough and knowledgeable home inspection.
But it’s not just about getting an inspector on the property, it’s also about getting the most out of the process, which means asking the right questions.
Below are a few great questions to get the ball rolling.
Be present during the home inspection
The most important rule is to be present during the home inspection. This means scheduling time off from work and family responsibilities, and shutting off the phone, during the couple of hours the inspector is present at the home you hope to buy. It’s not enough to be physically present, you also need to be engaged in the process. This allows you to observe and, when necessary, ask questions.
Want to get the most out of your home inspection? Start by asking questions. If you’re not sure where to start, consider this list of possible inquiries:
Question No.1: How do I pick a home inspector?
In this highly competitive real estate market, most buyers simply call up a few home inspectors and ask how much they charge and when they are available to do an inspection. “That should be the last question,” says Peter Christopher of Connecticut-based Fairfield Home Inspections. Instead, ask the inspector what qualifies him or her? In other words, what makes him or her suitable for the task? These initial questions can include: How long have you been inspecting homes? Are you a full-time or a part-time inspector? Where did you get your training? How many homes do you inspect a year? And, are you experienced with this type of home?
Remember, you want an inspector that does the job full-time. Often, part-time inspectors are real estate professionals, such as home renovators, with knowledge of housing issues, but not necessarily the experience to identify problems.
Question No.2: What problems should raise flags?
There are a number of issues that should raise a flag for homeowners. One is asbestos. But that doesn’t mean that you should run for the hills if you hear the “a” word. Instead, ask questions: “Does the asbestos need to be removed immediately to prevent harm?” and “Is it a problem if I leave it untouched?” are two questions you need answers to. Quite often, old pipes will be wrapped with asbestos; while this will mean remediation, at some point, it may not be an immediate issue. Rather than run for the hills, you could use this as a negotiation tactic: Asking the sellers to reduce the price to account for the cost of remediation.
Another issue to pay attention to is mold. Ask your inspector if he or she sees stains or spots on ceilings, in closets and around attic beams. Then ask if remediation is required. Sometimes, the best way to deal with surface mold is to clean it properly and then add a vent—at a much cheaper cost than mold air quality testing and full remediation.
Question No.3: Are there risks I should consider when buying a foreclosed home?
When a home is foreclosed it’s usually because the owner fell into hard times; this not only translates into financial trouble, but often a lack of incentive in maintaining the house. As such, make sure you really check and double-check the plumbing—making sure that all pipes are free and clear of obstructions, there are no leaking fixtures, and that older clay pipes are still intact. While a bank won’t fix any damage in a foreclosed home, evidence of damage or needed repairs, as found in a home inspection report, can be used to negotiate a lower sale price. (Keep in mind, however, that some banks will deny requests for home inspections, stating a property is sold “as-is.”)
– via MoneySense
What The Inspectors Know That You Don’t
Often the best advice you can ever get is from professionals telling on their own industry, and home inspecting is a great example of that.
Below are a few insider secrets that home inspectors know, but won’t necessarily tell you. By arming yourself with info like this, you’ll get the most out of your inspection and hopefully avoid the pitfalls many home buyers fall into that cost you dearly down the line.
We’re Not Responsible If We Miss Something
Even the best home inspectors can make mistakes, and the things they miss can wind up causing you major headaches. Surprisingly, not all states require home inspectors to carry insurance, and even those with insurance requirements in place may not do enough to protect homeowners.
Typically, a home inspector’s liability tops out at the cost of the inspection. That means that if your inspector misses a major issue, you could be out thousands. To make sure you’ll be protected by a home inspection oversight, choose an inspector who carries “Errors and Omissions” coverage. These policies go beyond the basic liability insurance, and offer some level of protection if the inspector overlooks a damaged roof, or a furnace on its last legs.
We’re Focused On the House, Not the Grounds
As his or her title suggests, your home inspector is looking at the condition of your house, not the grounds or surrounding features. This means he’s unlikely to spot problems beyond those on the interior or exterior of the house itself, leaving the buyer vulnerable to issues with outbuildings or fences. Unfortunately, these elements often represent a fairly major expense, and can create big headaches if they’re damaged or unstable.
In addition to sheds and fencing, home inspectors typically don’t inspect underground pipes, septic tanks or wells, all of which are particularly expensive to repair or replace. If you’re buying a home that includes a large number of outbuildings or other outdoor features, be sure to negotiate these items into the inspection checklist. If your inspector isn’t willing to cooperate, or feels ill-equipped to handle these types of structures, consider hiring a second inspector who’s more experienced in this type of work.
Thorough? Define Thorough.
In most U.S. States, there are very few standards in place to determine which items should be covered during a home inspection. In fact, only about half of the states offer specific guidelines to govern home inspections, and to ensure that critical systems like heating, plumbing and foundations get the attention they should. Rather than leave the scope of your home inspection up to the inspector, take the time to hammer out an agreement ahead of time so both parties know exactly what’s covered. If you need ideas, look for free checklists provided by the American Society of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
In addition to settling on specific items ahead of time, you can also evaluate the thoroughness of an inspection by calculating how long it takes the inspector to work his way through your home. The average home inspection should take three to four hours, and anything less may indicate a less-than-thorough job.
Your Real Estate Agent is My Best Source for Clients
Real estate agents often provide recommendations to help clients choose a home inspector. However, with many home inspectors relying on real estate agents for referrals, it may not be in your best interest to blindly follow your agent’s advice. These home inspectors know that pointing out flaws in a home can result in a price reduction, or may even kill the deal. To stay on the good side of a real estate agent, some unscrupulous home inspectors might be tempted to ignore or minimize potential problems, which can cost you big bucks down the road.
Protect yourself by choosing a home inspector who’s completely independent from your real estate agent. This way, you’re guaranteed that these two professionals will have your best interests at heart, instead of each others’.
Of course, if you trust your real estate agent, feel free to give his or her recommendations a shot. Just make sure to vet each potential inspector on your own before agreeing to a deal.
– via HowStuffWorks
What questions will you have at-the-ready when you get your potential new home inspected?