By Keith Boggs
Posted September 18, 2020, at 7:00 am CT
Are you about to make an offer on what you think will be your next home? If so, don’t underestimate the importance of the home inspection! It will give you the information you need to:
- Fully understand the property’s condition both inside and out: You’ll know what repairs or replacements are needed and how severe the issues are. And with a home inspector that goes above and beyond the basic requirements of the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), you’ll get information about how best to remedy the defects he finds and how much those projects might cost.
- Negotiate with the seller to strike a fair deal for both parties: You will have what is needed to answer a few key questions: What will you ask the seller to fix and what will you fix yourself after move-in? Will you ask for a price reduction or some other concession, for example, a home warranty or closing cost credits? What is the best approach for negotiating with the seller?
- Plan for and execute repair or replacement projects once you’ve moved in: For those projects that you don’t ask the seller to take care of, you’ll be ready to go with the facts and figures required to quickly address what’s important and make the house your home.
Most importantly, a thorough home inspection by a professional, experienced home inspector helps you move forward with confidence and peace of mind. You will know that you’re making a wise investment in the right home for you and your loved ones.
So, how do you find the best home inspector? What do you need to ask them as you go through this process to ensure you get the most value from this pivotal service? Here are the most important questions.
Questions to Ask a Home Inspector When Hiring
We’ve written a lot about how to hire a home inspector. And honestly, the cost of a home inspection in North Texas is so small when you think about the investment you’re considering. So, it makes sense to engage the best! The most important questions at this stage are:
- How experienced is the person who will do the inspection?
You can go with a large company with many inspectors or you can choose a smaller one, like ours, with an owner who is also active in the field. But keep in mind that you are not hiring a company, you are hiring an individual! The quality of your service depends on the person that performs your inspection, creates your report, and answers your questions. Make sure your inspector will be a TREC-licensed Professional Inspector with at least 5 years’ experience in the field and a lot of skin in the game.
- What will you inspect, and what will you not inspect?
Take some time to familiarize yourself with TREC’s minimum requirements. At the highest level, the inspector has to visually inspect accessible systems and components, operate equipment and appliances on basic settings, inspect structural, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems, check out the roof, open and close windows and doors, and look for signs of hidden issues. When you speak with potential inspection companies, ask how they go above and beyond those basic requirements.
- What happens after the inspection?
There are three key things to probe for: One, what’s in the report? Two, is there a post-inspection debrief? And three, what if I need more information or have questions? Make sure the report will include a lot of photos and videos (which aren’t required by TREC), so you can see what the inspector sees. Confirm the inspector will offer you a video debrief as soon as practical after the inspection. And make sure he will be readily available for post-report questions.
Questions to Ask a Home Inspector Before the Inspection
So, you’ve hired a company, and the inspection is around the corner. The most important questions to ask at this stage include:
- How experienced is the person who will do the inspection?
We’ve already talked about this, but it doesn’t hurt to confirm that schedules and staffing haven’t changed and the specific individual performing your inspection has a good amount of experience in the field. You don’t want to end up with a relatively inexperienced inspector when it comes to making this large investment. So, a quick confirmation of your inspector’s background and experience can make a big difference.
- When will I get your report?
Today, home inspection software has simplified the reporting process to a certain degree. But that doesn’t mean creating a thorough, detailed report doesn’t take some time. And usually, buyers, sellers, and realtors are all eagerly anticipating the results of the inspection. The best inspectors will deliver it on the day of inspection or at least within 24 hours.
- How do I reach you?
If your inspector is hesitant to provide his direct phone number for post-inspection questions and information, you may have chosen the wrong one! Good home inspectors understand where you are and want you to be comfortable with the investment you’re about to make. They are your allies along this journey and the best will be readily available.
Questions to Ask a Home Inspector Post-Inspection
You may have many questions for your home inspector after the inspection. Here’s what we think are the most important ones to ask:
- Can you please add more to these findings?
Don’t be afraid to request additional information in your report. Your inspector represents you, the buyer, and should be willing to make sure the report reflects the information accurately and thoroughly. That’s why you hired him! The best inspectors will exceed the expectations you have of the report by including photos, videos, and recommendations about how to address defects. That’s what you need to make the best decisions and negotiate a fair deal with the seller.
- Can you explain this to me in more detail?
Every industry has its own vernacular. And home inspection is no different. If there is something you don’t understand clearly — whether in the report or from a conversation with your home inspector — ask for more information. It’s important that you have a clear picture of this property’s condition, and the best home inspectors will make sure you get it.
- How would you address this defect if this were your home?
This is a good one — akin to asking a medical doctor, “What would you do if this were you or your loved one?” But, it can also be a tricky question, because home inspectors aren’t going to be there after you’ve moved in and they’re not liable for the decisions buyers make. But, the opinion of a professional, experienced home inspector can be very informative as you move forward. So, feel free to ask. Your home inspector may provide a disclaimer to his reply, but they’re on your side and should provide you with helpful input.
As always, we hope you’ll reach out to us to learn more about how our home inspections can help you make the best decisions during your home-buying journey!
About Our Licensed Dallas Home Inspections
Keith Boggs is the owner of Stonebriar Property Inspections. He is your personal home inspector, and his investment in the company will be reflected in the quality of your inspection. Mr. Boggs’ inspection reports are professional, comprehensive, detailed, and clear. They average about 60 pages, include 100 to 200 color images, and include detailed findings, recommendations, tips, and best practices for maintaining your home. Buyers also receive a full video debrief explaining all findings. Stonebriar Property Inspection’s customer reviews speak to Keith’s reputation as an ethical, reliable, and courteous Dallas home inspector. Stonebriar Property Inspections is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating. SPI is fully licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission for home inspections and the Texas Department of Agriculture for termite/wood destroying insect inspections.