You are finally ready to purchase your first home and it's suddenly hitting you that the entire process may be more difficult than it seemed when you first said, "We're going to buy a house!" Now you have to delve more deeply into exactly what that process entails. In the case of the necessary home inspection that must be performed before you truly consider purchasing it or not, you should have questions ready for the inspector before it begins.
Why should you get a home inspection to begin with? The home inspector is a non-biased third party not connected to you or the person who is selling the house. Their job is to make sure that the physical structure of the house and all its systems are in proper working order. This also includes the efficiency and safety standards of the house as well. They will probably look at the plumbing inside the house, its electrical systems, the insulation, how the house is heated and/or cooled (not all houses come with central heat and air), how stable is the roof, how stable is the house's foundation, the condition of the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and all the doors, interior as well as exterior.
Basically, a home inspector is there to save you a potential bundle of money by preventing you from buying a property that may soak you for cash after you move in. Based on the inspector's report, you can ask the seller to make the necessary repairs, you can decide to pay for them yourself, or you can decide that buying a house in that kind of condition is too much of a financial burden for you to take on. Not everyone wants a fixer-upper.
Here are a few questions and concerns you may have - and should always feel free to vocalize! - during your home inspection.
1) Ask about the exterior framing of the house. You want to make sure that the structural integrity is intact so you won't face any problems - such as the house sinking - in the future.
2) Ask about the septic tank. What is its condition? When was it installed? You may also want to request that someone perform a tank testing so you'll be sure that it will continue to function.
3) Where does the rainwater go? Is there an efficient way for it to drain off the roof and away from the house's foundation?
4) Speaking of the roof: how sound is it? Are there places where it's patchy or needs repair? When was the last time it was checked?
5) Can you see any defects on any level of the house? The inspector will be looking closely with a critical eye. You can provide a second opinion.
6) How stable is the plumbing?
7) Are there signs of insect infestation?
8) Has there been water damage?
9) What is the condition of the insulation?
10) Can you see any issues that may arise with foundational walls, windows, or doors?
Don't be afraid to ask questions of your home inspector - the more prepared you are, the happier you'll be with your new home!