This is an article submitted by a guest author. Not all views expressed are those of Amerifirst Home Mortgage or its employees.
A home inspection is an invaluable tool for a home buyer trying to decide whether or not a specific property is a good investment. Being present for the process can make the inspection even more worthwhile. Asking questions of the inspector and getting his or her opinions about the problems with the house can help the home buyer decide whether or not to move forward with the real estate transaction.
What does the inspection cover, and what does it not cover?
Home inspectors examine most of the major systems of the home, including aspects of the roof, HVAC system, electrical system and plumbing. Your home inspector should have a long list of items that the inspection will cover, and may also have a list of items not covered by the inspection. Sewer, chimney and pool are all examples of systems that may not be covered in your home inspection. Knowing what isn't covered in the report can help you seek out contractors who can perform these inspections at a later time.
Would you get this problem fixed? If so, when?
Your home inspector will point out any and all problems that he or she finds with the house, no matter how minor. Sometimes judging by the report, it’s difficult to determine which defects are serious and expensive to repair, and which defects are minor.
As your inspector points out damage and defects, ask the inspector whether or not he or she would fix this problem if the house was theirs. This will help you rate the problems that you see later on the report. Having perspective on the severity of each problem can help you decide whether or not a house will be a good investment for you.
What could happen if this isn’t repaired?
Budgetary constraints and time constraints can leave many home owners living for years with problems that need to be repaired. Knowing the worst case scenario can help you judge whether or not a problem needs to be repaired before moving in, or whether or not that problem can be fixed weeks, months, or years down the road.
How would you get this fixed?
Some repairs need to be made by a licensed contractor, while other problems can be fixed by homeowners with a little ingenuity and a good set of tools. Asking your contractor what he or she would do to repair the problem may help you decide what can easily be done by you.
Can you show me how to work this?
The home you’re thinking about buying may have a variety of unfamiliar systems. Moving into a house with an unfamiliar HVAC system, sprinkler system, dishwasher, refrigerator and other appliances can make moving and adjusting to your new house more difficult. An experienced inspector will know many of these systems from previous home inspections, and may be able to show you how to turn on, adjust and operate the parts of the house that you find puzzling. As your home inspector turns on systems, flips switches and operates portions of the house, ask what he or she is doing and how you can do that yourself.
What would you do to maintain this system?
While the home inspector is showing you how to use the parts of the house, ask him or her about the standard maintenance that you can perform that will help you avoid accidents and expensive breakages. Knowing the small things you can do to prevent these problems can save you money in the future.
Can I call you with follow up questions after the inspection?
When you receive the report, you may have more questions about the inspection and the inspector’s assessment. Being able to talk to your home inspector and ask him or her follow up questions about the report will help you as you follow through with the purchase of the home.
What can I do to fix these problems myself?
The problems your inspector may find can be costly. Download our free guide on how to remedy many of your home's potential problems without having to pay somebody else. Consider it a "thank you" from us to you for using our resource center.
Author Bio: Greg Geilman is a Los Angeles native of over 40 years and owner of South Bay Residential.