Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

If you’re a homebuyer, a bad home inspection could mean a delay in owning the house you have your heart set on. If you’re a seller, this could mean even longer before you can move forward with plans for after the sale is complete. Home buyers and inexperienced sellers often don’t know what to expect, making the inspection seem more stressful than it should be.

That’s why it’s good to ask questions — not just when hiring your home inspector but also before the inspection, during the inspection, and after the inspection is complete. The more we know, the less frightening the experience will be. Read on to see what types of questions to ask your home inspector throughout the process.

Questions to ask before the home inspection 

Though asking questions ahead of the inspection won’t likely change the outcome, the answers you receive help to ease through the overall process. Knowledge is power, and having some information ahead of time helps calm fears and may help you decide if an inspection service is right for you.

How much does the home inspection cost?

Every location has a general cost range for home inspection services that you can look up online. These numbers are just average cost ranges. Some may charge less. Some may even charge much more. Don’t assume the high end of the cost range you looked up is the most you’ll have to pay. Ask the inspection service how much it will cost, so you aren’t surprised when you receive the bill. 

What do you check, and what don’t you check?

Getting an idea of what the inspector will check before they arrive gives you an idea of what other kinds of things you can look out for. For instance, the service probably checks for signs of termites but might not be qualified to make a final determination as to whether there’s an infestation or not. Some may do in-depth inspections using x-rays or other high-tech imaging devices or use drones to check for roof leaks.

How long have you been a home inspector?

Experience is vital. A more experienced home inspector is more likely to find issues that can worsen things in the long run. They tend to know of other services that can help and are usually good at offering recommendations. They’re typically better communicators because they’ve been doing their job long enough to present things in a way that’s not frightening but relates the importance of issues that need addressing.

Questions to ask during the home inspection 

It’s only natural to want to know what’s going on during the course of a home inspection. Here are some questions you can ask during the home inspection to help calm your fears and become better informed on the situation when the inspector says or does something that indicates they have a concern.

What does this mean?

Inspectors might make utterances such as, “hmm,” or a scowl of concern might fall across their face, which may naturally unsettle you. Address your concern right away. Find out what they meant when they looked at a ceiling beam and scowled. Knowing what’s going on as they’re doing their inspection will work wonders in keeping you calm as you follow along.

Should I be concerned about this?

Ask if you should be concerned when their non-verbal cues or body language suggest there might be a problem. Double-check to make sure you read the inspector correctly. A long stare at a support structure might just indicate they were considering the construction for a home improvement project they’re working on at home. You never know until you ask.

Have you seen anything I should be concerned about?

As they’re wrapping up their inspection, ask if they came across anything that might require you to repair or bring up to the seller for negotiation. There’s a chance the inspector will tell you you need to wait for the report. A good inspector will let you know if there’s something of great concern to them. Knowing this information ahead of the report allows you to prepare a way to bring it up to the seller if you’re a homebuyer, giving sellers a headstart on looking up possible repair services. 

Questions to ask after the home inspection 

Is there anything I should get fixed right away?

After the inspector has wrapped up their property examination — ahead of the inspection report — find out if there’s anything that you should fix immediately. Specific issues, such as roof or plumbing leaks, shouldn’t wait until a report to get repaired. Whereas most issues won’t change all that much between the time of the inspection and receiving the report, unchecked leaks can create a fair amount of damage in a short amount of time. A leak could considerably compound if it gets larger before it’s corrected.

How much can I expect to pay to fix this issue?

If the inspector brings an issue to your attention, find out if they can give you a ballpark figure as to how much something like that specific problem costs to fix. Inspectors who’ve been in the business a while — especially those who began in construction — usually have a good idea of basic repair prices. Of course, you’ll need to speak to the repair service to get an accurate cost, but having an idea ahead of time can prepare you for a significant estimate if that’s what it comes to.

Do you recommend anyone to fix the issue?

Experienced inspectors have dealt with numerous repair and maintenance outfits and usually have a good line on who can fix what — and who does it best. Ask who they’d recommend taking care of an issue they encountered to take some of the legwork out of searching on your own.

Did you see any maintenance concerns?

When they’ve completed their inspection, it’s helpful to know if they have any concerns about issues that could arise down the road if they aren’t taken care of soon. Typically, these issues result from “delayed maintenance” and often take only a small investment or a little work on your part to correct before it becomes a problem in the future.

Buying a house is both exciting and a little scary. A home inspection is one of the more stressful elements in home buying. Getting ahead of your worry with well-thought-out questions and responses to the inspector during their visit is a great way to simmer your fears and calm your concerns. Information is vital — the more you have, the better off you are.