Considering the cost of purchasing a home it would make sense that buyers would take necessary precautions to see if the home has any problems. A home inspection can point out any problems, if they even exist. The following list represents some pointers to consider when ordering a home inspection.
Review Credentials of the Inspector
It is wise to choose an inspector with engineering qualifications. The inspection process may discover some problems that would be best suited for an engineer to review. If that is the case, and your home inspector has no engineering certifications, then you could end up paying for the inspection of the home as well as an inspection by an engineer. A Professional Engineer designation is offered by the state and governed by a state board as well. You may ask for the inspector's designation before hiring him or her to look at your home.
Be Part of the Inspection
Do your best to coordinate the inspection with time that you are free. These inspections will typically last one to two hours. Going along to look at the home can give you a chance to see the home through the inspector's eyes. While it is a given that you will receive a copy of the report, and hopefully accompanying pictures, being present when the home is reviewed will allow you to hear and see the inspector's reaction to the condition of the home. It will also give the inspector a chance to actually show you an area of concern and perhaps provide some suggestions for how the issue can be resolved.
If Something is Confusing, Ask Questions
Home inspectors are trained professionals. They understand the structure of a home along with its working systems such as the plumbing, electrical and heating/air conditioning system. This means that the inspector may use terms foreign to you. Ask the inspector to explain any observation or issue that you do not understand. Buying a home does not mean that you have to be as knowledgeable as a general home builder. However, you should feel comfortable that the home is safe for living and that there are no immediate problems demanding expensive repair. Conversely, if the home is in need of serious repair and you have the ability or resources to fix it then you could negotiate with the seller to lower the home's price.
It is important to try and remain impartial about the home inspection. If the inspector finds some significant problems that will require a great deal of work and expense to rectify then it may be wise to consider buying a different home. However, it is also a good idea to remain rational. If you are looking at a previously owned home then you should expect that the home is not perfect and may need attention in a few areas. Just like buying a used car can mean saving some money in place of some small sacrifices, getting a used home can save many buyers some money if they are not afraid of doing a little clean up and some simple projects like a little painting or wallpapering.