8 questions to ask before hiring a home inspector

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It is important to have your home inspected when you buy a home. There are many hidden problems that can occur after the purchase of a property and that it is expensive to fix. Spending a few hundred dollars for a professional home inspection in advance is a good way to avoid costly surprises with your new property – but only if you have a reliable home inspector who will carefully check your home and identify those problems. .

This year, I discovered that an inadequate home inspection had cost me over $ 10,000. My roof started to leak, causing damage to the interior. When a roofing contractor checked it, he put me on a ladder and showed me that there were three layers of shingles on most of the roof. The new shingles on the top layer covered all kinds of problems. The roofer was surprised that my building inspector did not inform me of the poor condition of the roof. It turns out that my inspector never went up on the roof during his inspection. The inspection report contained a photo of the roof taken from the ground, but it seemed to be appropriate because it was covered with new shingles. (See also: Do ​​you plan not to pass the inspection at home? Here is what it will cost you)

If I had known that the roof was breaking down, I could have negotiated a new roof under the purchase agreement or replaced it before it started to leak and I was spared. a lot of stress. I could have avoided having an inadequate home inspection by asking the right questions.

Here are some questions to ask before hiring a home inspector for your future home.

1. Who recommends this building inspector?

Be wary of home inspectors recommended by your banker or real estate agent. These parties are motivated so that the inspection of their home runs smoothly and results in an agreement that closes for them to be paid. They will tend to recommend "easy" home inspectors who are not as likely to report problems that could derail the sale.

2. What are your qualifications for being a home inspector?

Good qualifications for a building inspector include work experience in the construction or home repair sector and training to become a building inspector. But there are online courses that almost everyone can follow and become a home inspector. I would be more comfortable hiring a home inspector who has experience that goes beyond basic home inspection training.

3. What experience do you have as a building inspector?

You can learn a lot by asking home inspector candidates how many homes they have inspected. A high number indicates that they focus on home inspections and that they have probably learned from their experience. A low figure indicates that it is a newly made home inspector or that home inspections are only a secondary job and not their primary purpose.

4. What is included (and not included) in the inspection?

Your home inspection may not include everything you expect, so it is worth checking out what is actually included. Home inspections may not cover harmful organisms or hazardous materials such as lead and asbestos, radon or mold. The inspection of structures not attached to the home, such as garden sheds or other buildings and pools, may not be included.

According to my recent experience, it is also advisable to ask the inspector to check if all the parts of the roof have problems of roofing. (See also: 5 questions about buying a house that you are embarrassed to ask)

5. Could you provide an example of a home inspection report?

Some home inspection reports I have received over the years contain a lot of texts and checklists that are not very informative. These reports are largely based on automatically generated text about problems that may be problematic, but are not actually comments from the home inspector on the property. Reports containing many photos of the inspection and the comments of the home inspector with specific recommendations are the most valuable. Some inspection reports even contain rough estimates of the cost of solving problems. Compare sample reports and choose one that contains useful information.

6. How much does a home inspection cost?

The buyer of a house normally pays for the home inspection, which can go up to a few hundred dollars. Compared to the price of a home, the cost of a home inspection is modest, but you do not want to be surprised by a much larger home inspection bill than expected.

7. When will you be able to inspect your home?

If you have signed a purchase agreement for a property, there may be a date at which the home inspection must be completed and accepted by the buyer. You must obtain the home inspection report in time to use it to negotiate repairs with the seller, or even to be able to withdraw from the agreement if major problems arise. Check to see if your building inspector has a backlog of work that would prevent him or her from meeting your schedule.

8. Can you cross the house with me?

Walking in the property with the building inspector at the end of the inspection may be the most valuable part of the building inspection. It's an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the problems discovered and about the house in general. While you have access to the space, you can also take action and plan the orientation of your big items during your move.