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Six questions to ask a home inspector

 Six questions to ask a home inspector

 
May 4, 2011
 
One part of the homebuying process is to have a home inspector look over the property you want to buy to make sure that everything is in good shape before you make the purchase official.
 
A real estate agent may be able to help you find a qualified home inspector in the area, but the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says there are a number of questions it pays to ask.
 
What will this inspection actually cover?
 
Before the inspection gets underway, HUD says it’s important to go over exactly what will and will not be covered in the inspection.  If potential buyers have any specific questions or items they want the inspector to check, mentioning them early is helpful.
 
How much experience do you have with residential inspection?
 
HUD says most home inspectors should be able to tell you their history in the business to show how experienced they are.  However, experience isn’t everything.  Newer home inspectors can also be very qualified in the field, and can sometimes provide a few names as referrals.  And while, it may be useful for the inspector to have a construction background, HUD says it’s still important that they be specially trained I looking over residential properties.
 
How much will it cost?
 
The costs of a home inspection can vary significantly, HUD says, based on the region, size of the home and a number of other factors, but a typical one costs between $300 and $500.
 
Can the buyer be present?
 
Being present during a home inspection can be a valuable experience for those looking to buy a home, since the inspector may be able to give answers to any simple maintenance questions the buyer may have.  HUD says if the inspector says no, it should “raise a red flag” about the qualifications.
 
Can you do any repairs based on the inspection?
 
If any minor problems are discovered during the inspection, buyers may want to know if the inspector can fix them.  However, HUD says many states or trade groups don’t allow inspectors to fix problems they might find, because it could be a conflict of interest.
 
When will I get the report?
 
HUD says most inspectors will be able to provide a sample report, so buyers can make sure they understand what they are getting.  In most cases, the agency says the full report is available within 24 hours of the initial inspection, which should allow plenty of time for a thorough review before the closing.
 
 

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