4 Questions You Must Ask Your Home Inspector

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A home inspection is an essential part of the buying process. Here are some key questions to ask during it.

Buying a home doesn't just mean making an offer, signing a contract, getting a mortgage, and waiting for that home loan to close. As part of the process, you'll need to go through a home inspection so a professional can come in, assess the home you're slated to buy, and identify any key issues you need to know about.

In fact, it's common practice to work a home inspection clause into a real estate contract. That clause allows you, the buyer, to back out of the deal if a home inspection reveals major problems that your seller is unable or unwilling to fix.

It's also common for buyers to attend their inspections. So there's no reason not to accompany your inspector while he or she does a walkthrough of the property -- and ask questions along the way. In fact, here are a few important questions you should make certain to ask.

1. What are your biggest concerns about this home?

Your home inspector may not find things that are wrong with your home per se -- but that doesn't mean they won't have concerns. For example, if your home's heating system is technically working but is also very outdated, that's something you'd want to know about.

2. Is this issue a major one or a minor one?

The home inspector is apt to point out issues -- that's what they are being paid for. What you need to do as a buyer, however, is get clarity on whether each issue that's uncovered is minor in nature or a potential deal-breaker. Be sure to ask that question each time your inspector highlights a flaw.

3. Do you foresee extra maintenance with this home?

As a home buyer, you don't want to sign up to buy a place that's in desperate need of immediate repairs, as those are apt to eat into your budget. But along these lines, you may want to steer clear of a home that's likely to require more maintenance than you bargained for. That's why it makes sense to ask your home inspector if there's reason to believe you're about to purchase a high-maintenance home. That could be the case if the appliances aren't very efficient, the home isn't well-insulated, or the layout is such that heating and cooling will likely cost more.

4. Would you buy this home in its current condition?

It's not an inspector's job to tell you how to spend your money -- that person's job is to explain what's wrong with the home you're looking to buy, or what has the potential to go wrong. But it may help you to ask your inspector if they would feel comfortable buying the home in its current state. If the answer is no, you may want to think twice before moving forward.

Buying a home is a big undertaking, and it's important to know what you're getting into. So don't be shy during your home inspection. The whole purpose of going through that process is to be able to complete your purchase with confidence, and the more detailed questions you ask, the more secure you're likely to feel.

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