7 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector Before Your Home Inspection Even Begins

From: Realtor.com

What are some questions to ask a home inspector? Given this professional is charged with checking out a home for any flaws before you buy it, he's an important safeguard who could protect you from purchasing a lemon—and squandering tons of cash in repairs. So, how do you separate a great home contractor from a merely good one? It boils down to interviewing home inspectors to gauge how thorough a job they'll do. To help, here are some of the best questions to ask. Bonus: This'll also help you know what to expect! Knowledge is power, my friends.

1. 'What do you check?'

"A lot of people don't know exactly what a home inspector is going to do," says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors.

It's a lot! A home inspector scrutinizes a long list of more than 1,600 features on a home.

 

"We inspect everything from the roof to the foundation and everything in between," Lesh says.

 

Going into the inspection with a clear understanding of what the inspector can and can't do will ensure that you walk away from the inspection happy.

2. 'What don't you check?'

There are limits. For instance, "we're restricted to a visual inspection," says Lesh. "We can't cut a hole in somebody's wall."

As a result, an inspector will often flag potential problems in the report and you will have to get another expert—a roofer, HVAC person, builder, electrician, or plumber—to come back and do a more detailed examination.

"Understand that we're looking at what exists in the house today," says home inspector Randy Sipe of Spring Hill, KS. "I can't see into the future any more than anybody else."

3. 'What do you charge for an inspection?'

Home inspections usually cost between $300 and $600, though it will depend on the market, the size of house, and the actual inspector. Generally you'll pay the inspector the day of the inspection, so you'll want to know in advance how much and what forms of payment are accepted.

Lesh cautions against going with an inspector who quotes you a very low price. "That's often a sign they're having trouble getting customers," he says.

Spending on a good inspector will more than pay for itself in the long run.

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