If you’re in the process of buying a new home, get as much information as you can about the property. This is why a professional home inspection is very important and crucial. Homebuyers often ask if they have to be present during the home inspection. And the answer is a big yes. Though it’s not really required, it’s very important that you be physically present during the entire inspection process.
Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so you should be confident that you’re doing it right, and asking questions during the inspection will help you make an informed decision on how to move forward. Below are some questions to ask your home inspector on inspection day.
1. What credentials do you have?
It’s important to make sure that you’re hiring the right professional to do the home inspection. And asking for their credentials is one of the best ways to do it.
- What professional organizations do they belong to and what training and qualifications do these organizations require?
- Ask for certifications.
- Ask for years of experience.
A reliable and professional home inspector should be knowledgeable about any red flags found during an inspection. Moreover, they should be able to answer all of your questions and give you appropriate advice. So, do your research and hire the right person that can do the job right.
2. What is the condition of the roof?
Ask your home inspector about the condition of the roof. Know if there are any buckling or missing shingles. Ask about the eavestrough and if there’s an accumulation of asphalt granules in the gutters. To avoid an expensive roof replacement, ask the inspector if there are any signs of major wear and tear or past storm damage. If the inspector indicates that there’s a need to replace the roof, ask the seller to replace it or negotiate the price to compensate for the replacement if you’ll have to do it after closing.
3. How well-insulated is the home?
How well the home has been insulated will have a significant impact on your heating and cooling costs. The home’s attic should be well insulated to prevent heat from escaping the home. The insulation rate should be at least an R-value of 60. R-value refers to the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the insulating capacity is.
You also need to ask your inspector about the type of insulation used. Vermiculite insulation contains asbestos which can pose a serious health risk if disturbed. The attic should be properly ventilated and the basement should also be insulated. Proper insulation and ventilation throughout the entire home is important in order to prevent mold and mildew growth.
4. How is the electrical system?
To ensure your home is safe from electrical fires, your inspector checks the condition of the home’s electrical wiring. It should be up to code, with no worn, damaged, frayed, or exposed wiring. And if any updates were done, were they done by a licensed electrician? You also need to find out if the electrical is knob-and-tube, as some insurance companies will not insure the house or will they will charge a higher premium. Additionally, you should ask if there are any outlets that are close to water sources like the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and outdoor locations. Asking these questions will give you a pretty solid idea how safe the electrical system really is.
5. How is the plumbing?
Your home inspector will evaluate drains, water heaters, pipes, water pressure, and test water temperatures to see how well each works. During the inspection, find out if any galvanized-steel piping was used. Galvanized-steel is known to rust, affecting water pressure, and worse they can rupture. Also, remember to ask your inspector if the home has any lead pipes. In older homes the use of lead pipes is fairly common. Over time, lead pipes wear down and can contaminate the water supply.
6. How solid is the foundation of the house?
The inspector will check how solid the home’s foundation is, and also check for any cracks. Keep in mind, however, not all cracks are serious. If any cracks are found in the foundation, ask the inspector what type they are and their sizes. If a dime can fit into a crack, you may want to consider getting a second opinion from a foundation specialist or structural engineer.
7. What is the condition if the HVAC system?
The home’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system (HVAC) will be inspected to ensure they’re fully functional. During the inspection, ask the age of the AC unit, as well as how long it should be expected to last. Lastly, ask if the furnace has been properly serviced and maintained.
8. How is the drainage?
Join the inspector during a walk around the home’s exterior. The ground should slope away from the home’s foundation. If you notice any faulty grading, ask your inspector if this is something you should be concerned about. Any downspouts should be intact and directed away from the home’s foundation. Faulty grading and improper drainage can lead to costly foundation issues in the future.
9. Are there any signs of pest infestations?
If your inspector comes across mouse droppings or evidence of other pests, such as termites, it’s good to know if there’s a suspected infestation. Pests can cause significant damage to homes and can also pose a health risk.
Once your home inspection is complete you should receive a final detailed report. Once you receive the report, thoroughly read through the report and the results of the home inspection. If you have any questions or concerns about the report, contact your inspector. Asking questions is the best way to make an informed decision. It’s your right and obligation to do so. Best wishes in your quest to find that dream home!