20 Key Questions to Ask During Your Home Inspection

The importance of a thorough home inspection cannot be understated. After identifying a suitable house in your mortgage pre-approval range, a certified home inspector helps identify major and minor defects that the average homebuyer may not notice.

Homebuyers play a larger role than selecting the company they wish to inspect their home. Given that you are about to make the largest financial investment of a lifetime, staying involved and asking pertinent questions is a smart decision that will pay dividends. Asking the right questions during the process helps solidify your understanding and position as the buyer. Focusing on the right questions enhances your knowledge about the process, property, and post-inspection implications.

Questions to Ask Before Your Home Inspection

Like any industry, there are varying degrees of professionalism and perspectives. Consider contacting a few home inspection companies and taking notes on how they respond to these preliminary questions.

  1. What is Your Inspector’s Background?
  2. What Certifications Does the Inspector Possess?
  3. How Long Has the Inspector Worked in the Sector?
  4. Does the Person Specialize in Residential Properties?
  5. How Much Does the Firm Charge for a Complete Inspection?

Some professionals may have taken community college or vocational training courses to become inspectors, and others may have previously worked as carpenters, masons, or general contractors. Each background provides a unique perspective and hiring the best-suited person for your needs is essential.

Questions to Ask During Your Home Inspection

Homebuyers do not necessarily need to stand back as passive observers during a home inspection. While it’s important not to distract or impede an inspector’s process, interjecting the following questions can improve your understanding of the home’s structural integrity.

  1. What is the Roof’s Estimated Age and Replacement Time?
  2. Does the Septic System Sluggishly Process Gray Water?
  3. Does the Home Have Adequate Insulation?
  4. Is it Worth Replacing the Existing Windows?
  5. Does the Grade Appear Adequate to Prevent Basement or Crawlspace Flooding?
  6. What Plumbing and Electrical Systems are Present?
  7. Where is the Electrical Panel Located?
  8. Does the Plumbing Have Multiple Shutoff Options?
  9. Should I Have a Radon Test Conducted?
  10. Do You See Telltale Signs of Previous Pest Infestations?

A homebuyer generally gets one home inspection and the opportunity to learn about their potential property. Taking advantage of this learning opportunity and obtaining a comprehensive report is important to get one step closer to signing your mortgage paperwork and closing on the home of your dreams.

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Questions to Ask After Your Home Inspection

Home inspection reports are often highly detailed and provide degrees of defects. Distinguishing between significant structural deficiencies and cosmetic ones can prove confusing. After reviewing your home inspection report, consider asking for further explanation with the following questions.

  1. What is the Life Expectancy of the Roof?
  2. Does it Make Sense to Replace Outdated Windows and Doors?
  3. Should I Insist on a Termite Inspection Before Buying the Home?
  4. Could Previous Water Penetrations Have Resulted in Mold Growths Behind Walls?
  5. What Capital Expenditures Will the House Need?

Follow-up questions and clarifications are crucial to understanding whether the property is worth your offer and subsequent mortgage. A less-than-desirable home inspection report may require further negotiations.

Who Pays for Repairs?

First-time homebuyers are often taken back by home inspection findings. Unless you are purchasing new construction, most existing homes have a few items that require fixing. If the structural integrity appears compromised or the house involves asbestos, it may be prudent to walk away. However, fixable issues usually lead to post-inspection negotiations involving price reductions and deciding who will pay for repairs.

It’s generally worthwhile to ask the seller to make needed repairs before proceeding with the transaction. For example, a home with a private well may not produce good water quality results. Although not necessarily contaminated, a buyer may request a filtration system be installed and have drinking water retested.

If post-inspection discussions prove fruitless and you still want to move forward, lending options are available. Put together a renovation plan and gather quotes to review with your local lender and discuss borrowing options.

Asking pointed questions throughout the home-buying process allows potential homebuyers to make informed decisions. Rather than walk away from the home of your dreams because it needs some work, contact Middlesex Federal Savings today to find out what solutions are available for your situation.

After asking these key questions during your home inspection, take a few minutes to review our "Complete Home Buying Checklist: 10 Steps to Buying A House!" so you are prepared for the entire home buying process!

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