5 Important Questions to ask your Home Inspector

If you're buying a house, you know that your professional home inspector will check it out and make sure it's in decent shape. If you really want to get to know your home beyond its pretty facade, you should ask your inspector direct questions—a whole lot of them, in fact!

1.  What does that mean? Don't be afraid to ask any questions about what the home inspector is telling you, and make sure you understand the issue and why it matters. Just keep in mind that your inspector can't tell you whether or not to become the owner of the house, or how much you should ask the seller to fix (though your real estate agent should be able to help with that).

2. Is this a "big deal" or a minor issue? Don't freak out—just ask the inspector whether he thinks the issue is a big deal. You'll be surprised to hear that most houses have similar issues and that they're not deal breakers, even if the fix or repairs sound major. And if it is major? Well, that's why you're having the home inspection done. You can address it with the seller or just walk away.

3. What is that water spot, and does it need repair?  Don't be shy about asking questions and pointing out things that look off to you during the home inspection and checking if they're OK, real estate-wise. Odds are, if there's something weird, your inspector has noted it and is going to check it out thoroughly. For example, if there's a water spot on the ceiling, maybe he needs to check it from the floor above to know if it's an issue.

4. I've never owned a house with an HVAC (or whatever...) - How do I maintain it? Flaws aside, a home inspection is your golden opportunity to have an expert show you how to take care of your house.

5. What are your biggest concerns about the property? At the end of the inspection, the inspector should give you, in general terms, a summary of what he found. You'll get a written report as well, but this is a great moment to get clarity on what the inspector thinks are the house's biggest issues, and whether or not they require further investigation. Often, it's a good idea to call in another home inspection expert— like a plumber, electrician, roofer, or HVAC professional—to take a look at anything the inspector expressed concern over.

I always recommend having a home inspection, regardless of the age or apparent condition of the property. Even if you are buying a brand new home, there can be items that were missed by the superintendent or the city inspector. It's always better to address items up front rather than having to discover and deal with them later. Questions? Call me!

Laura Harbison
Realty Executives Southern Nevada Properties