Home Buyer Tips: Questions to Ask During the Inspection
It’s in an ideal neighborhood, and the asking price fits comfortably within your budget. The house offers everything on your wants list plus more. However, there’s one more important step before signing on the dotted line: the home inspection. To make sure you’re getting the right home and avoid any unexpected issues, you should be present during the inspection, observe, and ask your inspector questions about the condition of the home.
How Long Will the HVAC System Last?
The inspector should look for a heating, ventilation and air conditioner system (HVAC) maintenance sticker. It could indicate how long the pieces of the HVAC system might last. Most furnaces are good for around 15 years, while water heaters typically last 8 to 12. Air conditioning units often have a shorter life span. Spotting greasy, old-looking equipment could suggest the need for immediate replacement or emphasize the importance of a home warranty.
What Would It Take to Fix That?
The answer to this question should tell you the extent of work necessary to rehab a problem and who would be able to do it. If you feel up to painting a bathroom, the solution is paint and tools from a local home improvement or big box store. However, rewiring is probably best left to an electrician. The inspector might also be able to estimate how much a repair or replacement would cost. This will help you determine whether the property might put you over budget or what your budget should be to perform the work if you go through with the purchase. Estimates are also helpful when prioritizing any work that you decide to do and serve as a clue to future maintenance needs.
Is Mold a Concern Here?
Some homes may have a bit of mold that the owners have not dealt with yet (or might not even be aware of). In some cases, this may be a quick and easy fix. In others, this may be indicative of a bigger problem. Lack of air circulation and the presence of mold creates problems for the home’s inhabitants, appliances, carpet and walls. A home inspector can verify whether there is sufficient air exchange to permit proper air circulation, which discourages the growth of mold, and any changes required to get stale air out of the residence.
How Exactly Does That Work?
If you don’t know how a system or a part works, this is the time to ask. Home inspectors are usually eager to share what they know and act as a teacher. For example, many buyers have little knowledge of the parts of an air conditioning system or how to maintain them. If the inspector doesn’t know the names of system parts, that should be a sign for concern.
Can You Show Me the Problems?
Absent digital photos in the inspector’s report, it’s a good idea to ask for a walk-through to point out each item listed as requiring additional inspection, repair, or maintenance. This is a real time saver when it’s time to negotiate or schedule the work.
Would You Recommend any Specialty Inspections?
A home inspection is a general look at a home’s structure and systems. At times, there may be parts of a home that warrant their own inspection to make sure everything is functioning as intended. Uncommon property structures such as a swimming pool require the services of specialized inspectors. With possible electrical issues, home inspectors often recommend bringing in a specialist as well. For help getting the right inspections on the home you’re considering, don’t hesitate to ask your inspector as well as your real estate professional.