If you are purchasing a new home, you will no doubt find yourself in need of a home inspector. Asking the right questions during and after the home inspection is important and a key area most homeowners focus on. However, knowing what things to ask before the inspection process takes place can be just as important.
Let’s face it: not every home inspector is created equal. Just like any other contractor you consider hiring or working with, an inspector needs to have certain credentials and experience in order to properly evaluate your future residence. A well-rounded knowledge base is crucial to providing you with realistic and in-depth knowledge about what could arguably be your biggest life investment – a new house. The last thing you want to do is hire an inspector that has little experience, or that is lazy and is just going through the motions.
Questions to Ask Before a Home Inspection
Most of the time, your real estate agent will have a home inspector (or two) that they trust and have worked with throughout the years, and while the reference certainly helps, it never hurts to perform your own due diligence – whether you decide to go with the agent’s preferred inspector or not. At the end of the day, the inspector should be working for you and to your benefit alone.
Do They Have References?
Even if the inspection agent has worked with your real estate agent in the past, ask for references and then be sure to follow-up and actually check to see how previous clients felt about the inspector’s work. Common questions to ask include whether or not the inspector arrived on time, if he looked and behaved professionally, if he inspected every area of the home (including the roof, attic, appliances, pool and so forth), and how comprehensive his report was.
Another good question to ask is if they felt the agent was fair or biased in his opinions. Did he make little things seem more important than they were? Did he offer any suggestions about important issues to fix? Was he open to questions?
Are They Bonded and Insured?
This may seem like common sense, but not all inspectors are insured, and if something happens while they are on the job, it can become a big problem. If, for instance, the home inspector is injured on the property, both you and the current homeowner can be held liable and sued.
In addition to injury insurance, ask if they have “error and omission” insurance. This provides coverage in the event that something major is missed during the inspection process.
What Does the Inspection Include? Can I See a Sample?
Having experience and being knowledgeable is great, but if your inspector cannot translate this information into an in-depth home inspection report, it won’t matter. Because of this, be sure to inquire about what the report will include. Take it a step further and ask for a sample inspection report so you can see how comprehensive and spelled out the inspector’s work usually is. He should have no issue providing you with this.