Buying a house? Once you find the perfect home, use an expert to make sure you want it.
Here are five important questions to ask your home inspector:
1. How bad is it – really? In many states, home inspectors are not legally able to provide you with a repair bid, but if you attend the inspection and simply ask them whether or not something they say needs fixing is a big deal, nine times out of ten they will verbally give you the information you need to understand the degree to which the issue is a serious problem (or not).
2. Who should I call to fix that? I You may get “just go to Home Depot and buy ______ for $35″ or “call a plumber”. And even on the larger repairs, your home inspector might be able to give you a few referrals to the plumbers, electricians or roofers you’ll need to get bids from during your contingency period. And same goes for any further inspections they recommend – if neither you nor your agent knows a specialist, ask the general home inspector for a few referrals.
3. If this was your house, what would you fix, and when? Your home inspector’s job is to point out everything, within the scope of the inspection, that might need repair, replacement, maintenance or furthe inspection – or seems like it might be on it’s last leg. But they also tend to be experienced enough with homes to know that no home is perfect. The inspector may describe an item as “at the end of its serviceable lifetime” and then say, “I wouldn’t do a thing to it. Just know that it could break in the next 5 months, or in the next 5 years.
4. Can you point that out to me? At the end of the inspection, while you’re all still in the property, just ask the inspector to take 10 or 15 minutes and walk you through the place, pointing out all the items they’ve noted need repair, maintenance or further inspection. When you get the report, then, you’ll know what and where the various items belong.
5. Can you show me how to work that? Many home inspectors are delighted to show you how to operate various mechanical or other systems in your home, and will walk you through the steps of operating everything from your thermostat, to your water heater, to your stove and dishwasher – and especially the emergency shut-offs for your gas, water and electrical utilities. This one single item is such a time and stress saver it alone is worth the lost income of missing a day of work to attend your inspections.
Hedy Goldman has lots of knowledgeable information to share. She has been practicing real estate since 1996 and is a gold award winner at Sea Coast Exclusive Properties. Hedy sells all over San Diego, but specializes in North County Coastal (La Jolla, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Cardiff, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside). She can be reached at (858) 504-2334 or HERE.