Wondering What to Ask During a Home Inspection? We Got You Covered.
It's easy to look at your new home and know what type of flooring you have or what type of finishes you have in your kitchen. It's a lot harder to know what lays behind your drywall or what you need to look out for when your home ages. You worked too hard to save your down payment and get a great credit rating to skip the home inspection. Here's what to ask during the home inspection to make sure you get the most out of the process.
What kind of wiring do I have?
The answer to this question will do more than satisfy curiosity. If the home is older, it might have aluminum or knob and tube wiring. Both of those are a fire hazard and can make it harder to get homeowners insurance. If you find out you do have aluminum or knob and tube, you should think about whether or not you want to replace it and if that's something you can negotiate on during the sale.
Where is the emergency shut off for the water, gas, and electrical?
The worst time to think about this is when your DIY project went bad, your kitchen is quickly becoming a lagoon, and the whole family is panicking.
Is the electrical panel full?
It might not be on your mind now, but if you want to make upgrades on your home chances are you’re going to need some more circuits. Sometimes the panel might look like it’s full but is actually capable of doubling the number of circuits with tandem breakers. Hello, new hot tub!
How is the drainage around the house?
Dealing with puddles around the house isn’t just annoying, it can damage the structure of the home over time. If you're buying a home during a dry season, it could be impossible for a layperson to even know that it's an issue. Or if it's rained a lot, you might not think any of a little dampness around the yard. Your home inspector will be able to look at the grading around the house and let you know if it's something that you need to look out for.
How does (fill in the blank) work?
Your stove, your hot water heater, your thermostat. This is your chance to ask about everything in the home. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. But, hey, even if your question is the exception, it’s not like you’ll see your home inspector again. So ask anyway.
How big of an issue is this?
Your home inspector can give you a good idea if this is something that can be easily fixed or if it's going to be a lifelong problem. If it's easily fixed, then no worries! Just make fixing it part of your contingency or use it to negotiate a better price for the home. If it's going to be a lifelong problem, you might want to think twice before going on with the deal. That standing water by the foundation might not be a big deal for 10-20 years. But it also might keep you from selling the house in the future or it might mean a major (read: expensive) repair.
Now’s your chance to learn as much as you can about your home. Most home inspectors are used to answering a lot of questions. So don’t be shy!