What questions should I ask the home inspector during the inspection?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

To get the best home inspection possible, you have to ask questions. Lots of questions—both to let the inspector know what your specific concerns are and to clarify anything you don’t understand the first time around. Here’s our top five recommended questions to keep the flow of information coming to you at a good pace during your home inspection:

1) Would you show it to me? It’s always best to be looking at the problem while talking about it. When the defect is in a difficult-to-reach location, like the crawl space or roof, your inspector can show you a digital camera image.

2) How bad is the problem? Some defects adversely affect the livability of the home and are expensive to repair while, at the other end of the spectrum, others are just annoying flaws.

3) Does it need to be fixed? Not all defects called out by the inspector require repair. And some problems do not need to be fixed immediately. 

4) What’s the right tradesperson to repair it? Maybe the repair is something you can do yourself as a homeowner. If not, you should know the right service to call to get it fixed.

5) Can you show me how to operate that? You should know where and how to turn off the water, electricity, and gas in an emergency. Also, you may want a demonstration on using your thermostat, lighting the gas fireplace, or changing the air conditioning filter.

    One final note: although we strive to explain our findings in a clear and straightforward manner, occasionally all home inspectors—including us—drift into “tech talk” mode. So we won’t be offended if you ask “could you explain that again in simple English?” 

    Also, see our blog posts How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? and Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

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  To learn more strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here’s a few of our other blog posts:

How can I make sure I don't get screwed on my home inspection? 

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Should I trust the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement?

Can I do my own home inspection?

How can homebuyers protect themselves against buying a house over a sinkhole? 

The seller gave me a report from a previous home inspection. Should I use it or get my own inspector? 

If we already looked at the house very carefully, do we still need a home inspection?

    To read about issues related to homes of particular type or one built in a specific decade, visit one of these blog posts:

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1940s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1950s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1960s house?

• What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1970s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1980s house?

What are the common problems to look for when buying a 1990s house?

What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? 

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been moved?

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure? 

What should I look for when buying a former rental house?  

What problems should I look for when buying a house that has been vacant or abandoned?

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

What should I look for when buying a house that is being "flipped" by an investor seller? 

What do I need to know about a condo inspection?

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

   Visit our HOME INSPECTION page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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