Earlier this year, we put together a list of 13 questions you should ask a home inspector before you offer him the job. The questions are all valuable — after all, you’re about to make one of the largest investments of your life.

But one sticks out as the single, most important question — not just to ask, and not just to get an answer to — but to really hear and understand the home inspector’s response to before you hire.

What is it?

“What will be inspected?”

The inspector should have a defined inspection process and be able to explain it in easily understood terms. He should leave you with an understanding he has your best interests in mind. Ultimately, you will be educated and able to make an informed buying decision.

1. The inspector should demonstrate his understanding of your needs and be willing to go above and beyond in order to give you the most comprehensive home inspection report.

All Texas home inspectors must be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), which means they have a certain level of education, training, and professional decorum. All inspectors should exhibit strong ethical standards and comprehend what is legal in the State Of Texas. If your potential home inspector dances around your questions or is unclear about what he will or will not do, this is a big red flag. If he is clear and direct, you know you will have a positive experience. Ultimately, he should prepare you and not scare you. Additionally…

2. He should show you how he’ll go the extra mile.

The Dallas home inspection market is competitive thanks to record housing construction rates and sales. This puts you in the driver’s seat! A high-quality inspector will go above and beyond TREC’s minimum standards. If you request it, he should be willing to give you a detailed list of everything that will be inspected. Just checking boxes on TREC’s standard inspection report does not cut it. Speaking of the inspection report…

3. He should explain not just the inspection, but also the report.

Knowledge is power. You shouldn’t have to ask about the report — an inspector should be chomping at the bit to explain how he approaches it. Does he just go so far as to say he uses the TREC standard report? Or does he talk about the content he adds to augment understanding and educate you? Does he mention that he includes photos? If so, how many? Does he tell you he’ll walk through it with you and explain his findings in terms you’ll appreciate? In addition to demonstrating how he will not just meet, but exceed your expectations, a great inspector has that “wow” factor…

4. His experience should shine through.

As you listen, pay close attention. The inspector should speak with the confidence that comes from thousands of inspections, not just textbooks or training videos. He should provide a good understanding of how a home’s components work, what he can inspect, and what he can’t. He should talk about how he performs the inspection. Does he go on the roof? Climb under structures when he can? Open every door and window? Pay attention to body language as well — if he looks uncomfortable providing you with deeper levels of detail, he may not have the experience your home deserves. Additionally…

5. Personality and professionalism will be revealed.

Part of a home inspector’s job is to represent homeowners and buyers by using his knowledge and experience to see what they can’t, communicate it effectively, and educate them as needed. When you’re interviewing him, his words and actions should be attentive, helpful, polite, and professional. And you shouldn’t have to drag information out of him — after all, you may not know the right questions to ask! So, in essence, he should show you that he plans to be your guide and advisor because that’s what you deserve.

One last note: The price range of a Dallas home inspection is about $400 to $600, depending on how big the home is and what pools, detached buildings, and other special components need evaluation. Considering the size of the investment you’re about to make, don’t pick a home inspector based on price alone. Ask him, “What will be inspected?” and his response will speak volumes, helping you select the most qualified home inspector you can find in the Dallas area.

Image Credit: Max Pixel