Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector

At Inspections by Keystone, we like our clients to feel empowered. Buying a home is a huge investment, often the biggest that an individual will ever make. And when you’re buying a home, stress and worry can seem never ending. So we aim to make the home inspection process easy. To that end, we’re giving you some insights into what you should ask your home inspector, from the initial call to inspection day. This isn’t just one more thing to add to your list––it’s a surefire way to get the most from this vital service.

What to Ask on The Initial Call

So you’ve made an offer on the home of your dreams, but you need that final ok from an inspector to feel confident in the purchase. On the initial call with your potential inspector, you need to get down to basics. Ask these two simple questions:

What do you check for?

What don’t you check?

The next, possibly most important, question to follow up both of these is “why?” or “why not?” As a home buyer you may know what some of the big hitters are on an inspection checklist, but do you understand why they matter? One little question to your potential inspector can clear up confusion and shed some much needed light. It’s also an easy way to start the relationship openly and honestly. Getting questions answered and out of the way now leaves less potential for issues or misunderstandings later on.

Once you’ve established what the inspector checks for, feel free to ask about pricing and experience with questions like:

What is your rate?

How many years of experience do you have in this field?

Remember, this isn’t an interrogation, but an opportunity for you to put feelers out and learn if this inspector is a good fit. Prices will vary between inspectors, and that could have some relation to experience levels. 

So don’t be shy––you have the right to know how much you’ll be paying. The answers to these questions can highlight the inspector’s expertise and assure you that they can be trusted and relied upon to make a thorough and accurate inspection. If you’re left feeling uneasy at all, most inspectors should have a business page or there may be a public page where previous clients can leave reviews. Of course we all know that reviews aren’t 100% trustworthy, but if there’s a clear trend in the comments, then you can likely take those reactions at face value.

Another great couple of questions to ask about the actual inspection is:

How long does a home inspection typically take?

Can I join you on the inspection?

Asking first how long it takes for their typical inspection process saves you from asking to come along and then finding out that it won’t fit into your schedule. If you are able to accompany the inspector, they should be totally fine with that request. Truthfully it’s a good thing and the inspector is likely happy to have you there because they can immediately point out things they look for or notice. It’s also easier for you to ask questions and get specific answers when you’re looking at the same scene as the inspector. If you are able to go on the inspection, definitely show appreciation and consideration for the inspector’s time. They should be glad to answer questions–it can save problems down the road–but they also have plenty of work to handle for other customers. So ask questions, please, but keep time demands balanced.

One last question that you’ll definitely want to ask before hiring a home inspector is:

Do you check for radon and/or mold?

Radon and mold are big issues in Ohio and they’re costly to remediate. If not handled properly and fixed right away, they can both pose real health risks to you and your family. So checking for both is important. This service might be an additional cost, and it may need to be set up in advance––asking on the initial call can get the ball rolling. If the inspector doesn’t offer this service, you may consider asking why they don’t, and/or seeking out another professional who does.

What to Ask During the Inspection

Prior to inspection day, you might jot down some relevant questions to ask your inspector. But you can be sure that plenty more will come up if you accompany them on their rounds. When questions come to mind, definitely ask them. Especially in regard to something that’s capturing the inspector’s attention, feel free to ask why and whether it’s of concern.

If the inspector makes note of something they find, you’ll want to know what it is right away. Besides outlining the problem, the inspector can also suggest another professional who can help you to resolve it. So don’t hesitate to ask a question like:

Can you point out where the issue is, and what I need to do to make it right?

Another key data point that every homeowner needs to know is where utility shut-off valves and electrical boxes are located. You might think you can figure it out later, but depending on the previous homeowner, these aren’t always where you expect them to be. Other than maintenance, you typically only need to know where utilities are in the case of an emergency, when you’re scrambling to turn things off. Instead of leaving that discovery for an already stressful time, feel free to ask your inspector to help, with a question like:

Can you show me where the major shut-off valves and electrical box(es) are?

Once the inspection is completed, there are still a few questions to ask your home inspector. This is a routine job for them, and they know how inspections work. But as a potential first-time home buyer, you might not. Your inspector should be happy to field questions such as:

What will the final report include?

When can I receive my copy of the report?

Once I have the report, what is the next step?

Your home inspector can quickly guide you through the process and could offer tips they’ve learned over the years. Taking the time and doing just a little bit of upfront research can ensure that you get the most out of your inspection and enter the home-buying process with a clear understanding of what to expect from the property.

Rely On Keystone Home Inspection

Keystone Home Inspection is proud to be a locally-owned and -operated business serving the greater Cleveland, Ohio area in Cuyahoga County, Geauga County, Lake County, Lorain County, Medina County, Portage County, and Summit County. We love to get to know our clients and work hard to make sure that you leave the inspection with the information you need to make an informed, confident decision. Purchasing a home is naturally stressful, but a well-executed inspection can make all the difference. If you are in the Cleveland area and need a reliable home inspector, give us a call. You can expect a non-invasive, unbiased visual inspection of your home and its systems, along with comprehensive and honest reporting on the home’s conditions. And yes, we welcome your questions.

Reach out today to learn more or schedule an inspection.

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Keystone Home Inspection is proud to be a home inspector in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area including Cuyahoga County, Geauga County, Lake County, Lorain County, Medina County, Portage County, and Summit County.

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