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Five Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector

By Tabitha Jean Naylor

Home inspectors are professionally trained personnel that help real estate investors make their final buying or selling decisions. In Massachusetts, the competitive nature of the real estate market demands that buyers carefully assess properties they are interested in purchasing to assure the house is in good shape, and represents a good investment. One way to ensure the home you want to buy is structurally and mechanically fit is to engage the services of a qualified home inspector. The inspector completes a home inspection and outlines the condition of the exterior and interior systems of the home. With the information you receive from the inspection report you can make an informed decision about purchasing the property.

Here are some basic questions you can ask your inspector that will help you understand the process better, and ensure that all of your concerns are addressed as part of the inspection process.

What is the Purpose of Doing an Inspection?

As a potential homebuyer you want to understand all of the processes involved in the purchase of the property. The best question you can ask your inspector is exactly what the purpose of the inspection. Home inspectors are generally eager to share information with you and will walk you through the steps of the inspection process and explain everything they check as part of the inspection. The inspector will also help you focus on the most important aspects of the inspection like structural integrity and the internal heating, cooling and plumbing systems to ensure you are making a wise investment and understand any issues that may arise as a result of the inspection.

What is Your Experience Level?

Before you actually hire a home inspector it is a good idea to ask about their experience. How long have they been doing home inspections and are they certified? Does your inspector have examples available for you to review from previous inspections and can they provide references you could speak with to verify the quality of their work? Most home inspections are visual inspections so experience is important in being able to identify issues quickly and accurately.

What are the Benefits of Having a Home Inspection?

Due to the complexity of the Massachusetts real estate market, understanding the inspection findings and what they mean in terms of purchasing the home is very important. The final purchase decision is the sole responsibility of the homebuyer but seeking a professional home inspector's opinion provides additional information that can be pivotal to the homebuyer's decision. Make a point of asking your home inspector to offer his or her professional opinion about what you as the homebuyer can take away from the whole inspection process. If the report indicates concerns or problems ask the inspector's advice about how serious the issues are, if the house is still a solid investment, or if you would be better off looking for a different property. If the problems are minor your inspector can also provide you information about options to remedy the problems and perhaps refer you to someone who can do the necessary work.

How Long Will It Take to Receive the Inspection Report?

Home inspectors are expected to compile a detailed report of their findings. Most home inspectors provide the report within a week while others can have the completed inspection report to you within 48 hours. Make a point of finding out what your inspector's turn around time is to provide the full inspection report in writing.

A home inspection can reveal serious problems that may not be visible from a walk through, or showing of the property. Most contracts for purchase include a requirement that the sale is subject to the results of a home inspection to protect buyers from investing in a property with serious structural or internal system problems. A home inspection can be a buyer's best friend; so don't be afraid to ask questions. If you suspect a problem, it is important to relate that concern to the inspector prior to the actual inspection date.

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