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Selecting a Home Inspector: 9 Must-Ask Questions

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At some point during the home-buying process, a home inspector will probably be called in to look over the property you plan to buy to ensure everything is in good shape.

If you are new to the home-buying process, you may not be aware of what questions to ask your inspector. To help, Mountain America Credit Union has put together a list to help you understand what to expect.

Ask these questions before you hire an inspector:

What will this inspection cover?
Understanding what will and won’t be included in the inspection is an important first step. Mentioning in advance any specific concerns or items that will need attention is helpful. It’s important to note that a home inspection isn’t necessarily going to uncover every issue, or potential issue, with the property. It’s possible that a problem is hidden behind a wall, under flooring or otherwise inaccessible.

Are you experienced with inspecting residential properties?
A history of experience in the field is important. A recommendation from friends, coworkers, family members or your real estate agent can also be useful. Don’t forget to look at online reviews. While you’ll have to take these with a grain of salt, if you see a consistent issue, it may be better to go with another company.

How much will the inspection cost?
Many factors can sway the cost of a home inspection—square footage, location, etc. However, a typical inspection usually costs somewhere between $300 and $500.

Do you allow the home buyer to attend the inspection?
As the potential owner of the home, being present during the inspection can be very valuable. It’s likely the inspector will be able to answer basic maintenance questions as you both move throughout the home. If the inspector will not allow you to be present, it could be a warning sign that he or she is not as qualified as they claim to be.

As an inspector, can you do any repairs based on what you find during the home inspection?
It may be tempting to ask the inspector to fix any minor issues that are discovered during the inspection. However, many states don’t allow this as it could be a conflict of interest.

When will I get the full home inspection report?
Most inspectors will provide a simplified report at the time of the inspection. A full report is generally available within one business day of the inspection.

Ask these questions during the appointment or after you’ve received the full report:

Which recommended repairs need to done immediately and which can wait?

The list of items that need to be fixed to bring the property up to par can be lengthy. Ask your inspector to identify which issues need to be completed for safety’s sake. This allows you to prioritize the work you plan to complete.

Can you show me how that works?
Many home inspectors are more than happy to show you how a particular system works. This includes emergency water shutoffs, breaker panel, thermostat, automatic sprinklers and the heating/cooling system, just to name a few.

How long will the major systems and structures last?
It’s perfectly within the inspector’s knowledge base to estimate when major repairs to things like the roof, furnace, hot water heater and other appliances may be needed. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Ready to become a homeowner? Mountain America has all kinds of mortgage options! First-time homeowner, new construction, FHA, lot only, VA—there’s one that’s right for you. For more about our mortgages, visit us online, give us a call or come into a branch.

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