The home inspector’s goal is to give the client confidence that they are aware of the systems and defects of the home they are purchasing or selling. You will probably have more than three questions but here are a few things to consider when hiring a home inspector.
House Specific Questions
As a home buyer, you probably saw the house prior to going under contract. During your initial (or maybe secondary) walkthrough, you may have seen some issues that seem suspect. If anything jumps out at you, you should make note of it and ask your home inspector prior to or during the home inspection. Never forget, the home inspector works for you, the client! Ask them questions about the home specific to what you see or have seen.
One example would be if the buyer looked at the house during a rain event and noticed a wet spot on the ceiling upstairs. If the home inspection takes place after a week of sunny weather, the formerly wet spot may be dry and noted as such in the home inspection report. If the client points out that the spot was wet when they viewed the home, further investigation may discover that there is, in fact, a leak.
Another example would be if the current tenants disclosed any information to the buyers. I had one situation where the tenants told the buyers that, under certain circumstances, the water would not heat up as if the water heater was not working properly. At the time of inspection, the water seemed to heat up properly but the water heater itself was obviously past its service life and needed to be replaced. When we came back to the home to collect our radon monitor, the home inspector, remembering what the buyer had told him, tested the water again. This time the water was only lukewarm at best. This water heater was noted as dysfunctional on the report.
Ask about anything that is unclear on the inspection report.
Your home inspection report may be lengthy but don’t let that scare you from diving in. We will guide you along and review the report with you at any time. It is important that you not only read the summary but the report as a hole. Reading the entire home inspection report allows you to get a full understanding of the home and how it’s systems and components are functioning.
Next, move your attention to the summary and notice that here you will find the defects noted and detailed. Our home inspection reports will be marked showing which items are safety hazards, repair items, and maintenance items.
Once you have an understanding of the home from the report, it is important to ask the inspector any questions about anything that seems unclear. Our intent at Presley-Barker Inspections is for all comments to be clear and concise but sometimes defects need further explanation. We understand this and love helping our clients through any issues.
What issues should definitely be addressed?
Our suggestion is to focus on the safety issues first. Anything that could be considered a safety hazard will be noted on the report. Even seemingly small items such as a missing outlet cover is a safety concern. If an item could cause harm during normal operation, then this is a safety concern. Take the missing outlet cover for example. If you or a child were to plug something in and your hand touched a live wire, you could easily be shocked. The simple and cheap solution is to install an outlet cover but the consequences of not doing so could be catastrophic.
Know your limitations. Just because you can buy the parts at the hardware store and do it yourself doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. Some repairs, such as electrical or HVAC work, require licensed professionals to complete. You can start with your local building authorities to determine if a license is necessary. You should not perform any repairs that you are not comfortable with performing. What may seem simple to one person is complicated to someone else and vice versa.
Ask your home inspector as many questions as you can think of. We are your home consultants and will tell you the story that the house tells us. Our home inspectors work for you and with you through the process in order for you to feel confident when purchasing a home!