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8 Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

8 Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector

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October 16, 2009

If you live in or are looking to purchase a house, whether it is older or a new custom home, at some point you will need to hire a home inspector. The opinions and knowledge of a home inspector help determine the market value of a home, the cost of renovations, and whether or not certain additions are feasible. A home inspector pinpoints areas that need repair work and finds any hidden hazards needing attention.

Eight Questions for a Home Inspector

What should you ask before hiring a home inspector? Start with these questions:

  1. What is included in the inspection? Your inspector should cover at least the minimum requirements of your state, but most will go above and beyond. If you prefer that other items be included, be sure to ask about them right away.
  2. How much experience do you have? Get informed about the home inspector's background and ask for a list of references.
  3. How long will the inspection take? For a single family home, 2 or 3 hours is often enough time; however, larger homes may take longer. If the time spent is much less than average, the inspection might not be thorough enough.
  4. How much do you charge? The cost for a home inspection depends on the region, age of the home, and other factors unique to each situation. Get several quotes to determine an average cost.
  5. What type of report do you provide? If your needs dictate a certain type of report, make sure the home inspector can provide it. Typically, a report should be in your hands within 24 hours after the inspection.
  6. Do you offer repairs based on your inspection? If the answer is yes, be careful. This could be a clear conflict of interest. Check with local, state, and association regulations if you are unsure.
  7. What organizations do you belong to? Reliable professionals often belong to a state or national organization for home inspectors. Find out where they hold memberships and do a follow-up if you want to learn more about their history and experience.
  8. Can I watch the inspection? Watching the inspection is an excellent learning experience. If the home inspector doesn't want you there, be wary.

Working with a Home Inspector

Make certain the home inspector you choose has experience with your type of home. Inspecting a new, custom home is quite different from evaluating an older house. During the inspection, don't hesitate to ask questions. Reliable inspection professionals are happy to teach clients all they can about a home.

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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