When you are purchasing a home the final inspection before the sale closes is one of the most important steps in the process. You will have the opportunity to review any issues with the property and negotiate a resolution with the seller. It is important to learn as much as you can about the home’s condition and what problems, if any, may arise in the future. Doing this means knowing the right questions to ask the inspector.
1: Can you recommend someone to investigate these issues further?
Many homeowners only go by what the inspector says and do not look into possible problems more thoroughly. Inspectors are knowledgeable in many subjects but are often not experts. For example, if there is a problem with the heating, electrical or another major system, an expert in that field should be brought in to evaluate things further.
2: What should be addressed first?
Buyers need to know that no home is without some issues, even new homes. Ask your inspector to prioritize any repairs or concerns. For example: What needs to be fixed now and what can be fixed later? This way, the results of the home inspection are in perspective. Focus on the big-ticket items in the request for repairs and ask your agent for affordable contractor referrals to do the rest.
3: What would you do if you were buying this house?
Ask your inspector what they would fix first if they were buying the home. Typically, there’s a punch list of minor repair items that come up in an inspection, especially in older homes. This way, you can prioritize the list of repairs and have a better idea of what is a serious issue that should be addressed now versus something that can be taken care of down the road.
4: What else might go wrong?
During the inspection, issues will be identified, and repairs suggested. Prior to deciding when something should be repaired and who should repair it, it is important to consider a few things: How serious is the issue, is there a potential of finding more during the repair and is this something I would want the seller repairing from a quality of work perspective? Inspectors can provide some insight and then you may want to consult other trade professionals.
5: Are any of these issues normal wear and tear?
Inexperienced or first-time homebuyers may panic when they see a long home inspection list of issues. An inspection report can be intimidating. Ask what items really need to be addressed right away. Find out which problems are typical or normal wear and tear, and which ones are problematic.
6. What warranties will be transferred?
Be sure to ask about the costliest repairs and prioritize what needs to be repaired by the seller and a timeframe to complete. Request warranties for any roof repairs/replacement and/or any new appliances including HVAC and water heaters. Most importantly, get everything in writing.
You may have other questions of your own for an inspector, but these are a good place to start. Most of these questions should apply to any property. However, your Realtor should also be able to suggest some property specific questions for your inspector.