Once you have submitted an offer to the Seller, and it has been accepted, your next step is to have a Home Inspector go through the property you are purchasing to be sure that there are no underlying issues with the property that are not openly apparent.  Remember, the home inspection process is for the benefit and protection of the buyer.  But, how do you know you are choosing a reliable inspector?  What kinds of things should the inspector be on the look out for?  Are there any specific questions that should be asked?  Here are a few questions to ask your Home Inspector to be sure they are reputable, experienced, and flexible, and to be sure that they are willing to be your advocate throughout the home buying process.  Let’s take a look.  

GET TO KNOW YOUR INSPECTOR and WHAT TO EXPECT

When searching for a home inspector, some of the questions you should ask potential candidates are:

Are you licensed?

A reputable home inspector will be licensed through a National Inspector Association, will have passed the InterNACHI’s accredited online Inspector program, will comply with the code of ethics and Home Inspection standards of practice and take continued education courses.  An experienced Home Inspector should be able to provide proof completion of all of these certifications.  

Are you insured?

Home Inspectors that have become licensed are required to maintain GL and E&O insurance to keep their certifications active.  Just as with their certifications, a reputable Home Inspector should also be able to provide proof of valid insurance as well. 

What is your experience?

Having a Home Inspector that experienced in the field is beneficial because they will have encountered a variety of home issues throughout their career and will be able to provide you with the most accurate information possible.  Additionally, you will want to choose an inspector that has experience with the specific type of property you are purchasing.  For example, if you are purchasing an older structure with the intent to restore it, you should opt for a home inspector that has inspected other dated structures.  Similarly, if you are looking to purchase a strip mall or corporate structure, you should opt for an inspector that has inspected this type of property in the past. 

What is covered in my inspection?

This is an important question to ask because you want to be sure that all of the main areas of concern are evaluated thoroughly.  Areas you will want to be sure are included in the inspection routine are the roof, how well the structure is insulated, the electrical systems, the plumbing systems, whether or not the building is structurally sound, the HVAC system, the drainage on the exterior of the building and any signs of pests being present.  

Can you address my concerns?

If there are specific areas that you would like your home inspector to pay special attention to, bring it to their attention.  If you feel the roof looks as though it may be an issue, make sure your concern is expressed to your home inspector so that he or she can take a careful look.  Home inspectors generally cover more than 200 focus points during an inspection, so chances are your concern will be looked at carefully, but there’s no harm in asking, just to be sure. 

INSPECTION DAY

On the days leading up to and on the day of your inspection, some of the questions you should ask are:

Can I follow you around?

Home inspectors are often open to having home buyers present at the time of inspection.  But more than just being on premises, it is beneficial to actually follow the inspector throughout the home during the process.  This will give you the opportunity to make your own notes and ask questions as they arise.  HINT: If an inspector tells you that they would prefer that you to not be present because it is distracting or for any other reason, take it as a red flag that should not be ignored.  Because home inspectors are intended to protect and advocate for the buyer, limiting the presence of the buyer may indicate that the inspector is inexperienced.  Buying a home is a HUGE investment, and a buyer should always have the option to be present throughout the entire process.  If, however, you are unable to make it to your home inspection due to personal issues such as a conflicting work schedule, ask about video chatting during the inspection.  

Who else can be present during my home inspection?

While it is important for the buyers to be present for the home inspection, you should ask before bringing others along for the inspection.  The inspection process provides vital information about the property, and does require a level of focus on the task at hand.  When individuals other then the home buyers are present for the inspection, such as children, extended family and friends, you leave the possibility that a distraction could take away imperative focus during the inspection. 

How long does an inspection take?

Generally speaking, home inspections can take anywhere from 2-6 hours to complete.  As previously mentioned, home inspectors evaluate more than 200 focus points throughout the property in depth, and will also be making notes and answering your questions as you go along.  Therefore, if you are going to be present at the time of inspection, it is best to set aside at least half of your day to dedicate to the inspection process. 

INSPECTION ROUTINE

Throughout your inspection, some of the questions you should ask are:

Is this a big deal or minor problem?  Is this a deal breaker?

Some issues may appear to be a larger problem than they actually are.  If an inspector mentions that you will need to replace the water heater, although this issue sounds major, it is actually a minor problem that can be easily addressed.  And, if an issue is deemed to be a major problem, you can address it with the Seller (be sure to include an inspection contingency in your offer) to be repaired before the sale is finalized, or withdraw the offer altogether.  

Is this up to code?

This is a great question to ask if you are purchasing a property that is well dated.  Because building codes have been updated from the time that older homes were constructed, it’s a good idea to make sure that the home you are purchasing is up to code, and if it is not, to find out what would need to be done in order to bring it up to code. 

What are your biggest concerns?

As your inspection concludes, your home inspector will have made a list of any areas of the home that they feel need attention.  It is important to ask your inspector what his or her biggest concerns are to be sure that they can be addressed first and within a reasonable time by the buyer, and, for more substantial repairs that are required, that they can be addressed by the seller within a timely manner with the home inspection contingency within your purchase offer.  

Can you recommend a specialist or expert that can take a look at your serious concerns?

If a home inspection uncovers a serious issue, such as cracks in the foundation or issues with the roof, your home inspector may have contact information for a reputable professional that would be able to take a more in depth look at the area of concern.  And, because your home inspector is an advocate for you, you can rest assured that any recommendations they provide to you will also be in your best interest. 

FOLLOWING YOUR INSPECTION

At the conclusion of your home inspection, some of the questions you should ask are:

When can I expect to receive a copy of the inspection report?

A home inspector should always provide you with an official written copy of their inspection report, and should have it to you within a reasonable amount of time so that the buyer has an adequate time frame to be able to negotiate any major concerns with the seller.  Having an inspection report is also required by mortgage lenders at the time of closing, so be sure to hang onto the report and forward a copy to your Real Estate agent. 

If I have any other questions, can I follow up with you?

For inexperienced home buyers, the entire inspection process will be a learning experience.  Be sure to ask your home inspector if they are comfortable with you reaching out to them to address any questions or concerns you think of after the inspection is complete that you may not have thought of in person. 

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION OF ALL

What does that mean?

Don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation of what exactly an inspector is referencing or talking about.  If you don’t understand something—ASK!  

Are you buying a home in the Pocono Mountain Area?  Are you looking for a reputable home inspector to complete the buying process?  The Sandi Meisse Team members have resources available to assist you in every process of the home buying process.  If you have questions about the inspection process, give the Sandi Meisse Team a call at 570-402-8536 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Buyers Specialists today.