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6 Questions to Ask your Home Inspector

After you’ve made an offer on a home, don’t rush to close! Take the time for a home inspection so that you don’t have any surprise repairs down the road. Here are six questions to ask your home inspector.
After you’ve made an offer on a home, don’t rush to close! Take the time for a home inspection so that you don’t have any surprise repairs down the road. Here are six questions to ask your home inspector.

Buying a home is a significant investment. Most offers are made contingent upon a home inspection, and for good reason. A home inspector inspects your potential new home for any needed repairs and identifies items that could become issues down the road. If you’ve booked your home inspection, here’s how to get the most out of it.

It’s not uncommon to have your real estate agent attend the home inspection. After all, they will be the one negotiating with the seller if you need to lower the price to cover repairs or require other concessions.

When you show up for your home inspection, wear casual clothes. If there’s a problem that the inspector wants you to see, you could be crawling around the attic. Be prepared to ask questions before, during, and after the inspection.

Questions to Ask Before a Home Inspection

While your agent can recommend home inspectors that they’ve worked with in the past, it’s always a good idea to ask a few questions yourself.

How much experience do you have?

You’re hiring a home inspector because you’re likely not a contractor or building professional. You want someone who can spot current and potential problems, estimate repair costs, and advise you on whether or not you should ask the seller to pay for them.

How long will the inspection last?

A typical home inspection should last a minimum of an hour up to several hours. This depends on the size of the home and how many issues the inspector finds. Not only will you probably have to take time off work, you want to make sure that the inspector is doing a thorough job. Any missed issues could cost you a lot of money later on.

Questions to Ask During a Home Inspection

The home inspector is shining a flashlight on a spot where squirrels chewed through the wall. Now is the time to start asking questions.

How big of a problem is this, and is it normal?

A wobbly stair rail, not a big deal. Uneven floors, completely normal in an older home. But cracks in the foundation? If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may not know how big a problem is or if it’s customary to find in the type of home you’re considering buying.

There are some problems in homes that are completely normal, depending on their age and condition. The foundation in older homes settles over time, leading to uneven floors. But cracks in the foundation and a wet basement can be an issue. You are 100% guaranteed to hear something you don’t like in a home inspection, so you’ll need a way to gauge its seriousness.

How much will this cost to fix?

While a home inspector can only give you a ballpark figure, it never hurts to ask for a price range for a repair.

Along with asking for the cost, the inspector should walk you through the reasoning for that cost. Whether it’s expensive materials, a difficult-to-reach location, or a repair that requires a highly-skilled tradesman, knowing why the repair will be expensive can help you in negotiating with the seller.

Questions to Ask After a Home Inspection

When your home inspection is over, the inspector will prepare a binder or folder with all of the information about what they found. It can be quite thick. Now is your time to page through it and ask some final questions.

What items should I fix before moving in?

Some repairs are simply easier to have done before you’re navigating around boxes and furniture. Things like replacing carpet or refinishing hardwood, or repairs that require accessing crawl spaces that could be blocked with a couch.

Would you buy this home?

A home inspector has spent years inspecting homes. Many contractors and tradesmen start working as home inspectors after they retire, or to supplement their income, and have a wealth of knowledge about repairs and maintenance.

Asking if they’d buy the home can help you zero in on repairs that could cost more than the home’s value. Their answers will give you insight into what you should require the seller fix before closing, or if you should negotiate the price down, or just walk away.

After the home inspection, it’ll be time to negotiate. Lean on your real estate agent to present the inspection’s findings to the current owners and ask for concessions. They will know what’s customary and how to get the best deal for you. If you’re ready to find an agent to help in your home buying journey, reach out to Clever today!


Thomas O'Shaughnessy

Tommy O'Shaughnessy is the Head of Research at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top local agents to save on commission. Tommy's team of data scientists create surveys, gather data, and analyze trends in housing, real estate, and personal finance. He directs public relations efforts, acting as a "data communicator" between his team and the press. Clever studies have been featured in Politico, the LA Times, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and other publications.

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