What are the most important questions to ask your home inspector?

Asked by Trulia San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Wed Jan 16, 2013

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Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
Assume that you, dear inspector have a child that you love very much. Would you buy this house for them to live in? If you would what would you tell them to watch out for and what specific things need to be done now to protect the value?
Then, because I've worked with contractors and trades-people before becoming a real estate agent I'd take much of what they say with a grain of salt knowing that they, as home inspectors, have incredible liability exposure and have an industry that recommends the wearing of a belt and suspenders in everything that they state.
For example, when I bought my first house we were told the roof needed to be replaced. We lived there for 19 years and never replaced the roof. There were two leaks and neither had anything to do with the roof. Another example, during a sals where I was the listing agent the inspector stated that the gravity flow heater was at the end of it's life "because it was 30 years old". It still worked and had given no one any problems. He did no test of the firebox or anything else it was just his belief or something he'd been told. Another time on a listing whit the buyer's inspector I had to listen as he stated that the flashing over a sliding glass door wasn't correct. He said it needed "Z" flashing which is wrong. That situation doesn't call for "Z" flashing and besides the slider didn't leak and hadn't for the 20 years the sellers owned the property.
So as much as I love some of the inspectors I get to work with I've come to realize that they do run the gamut in expertise and ego.
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David Tapper, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Thu Feb 14, 2013
I think Jed's first paragraph says it all.

Good luck,

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Jeff Chase, Other Pro, Canonsburg, PA
Thu Jan 17, 2013
As a home inspector, I think a good question to ask a home inspector is "how does this house compare to the average house in the number of defects found?" It may give you an idea of how well the house was maintained and how many of the improvements were done by "do it yourselfers" who have limited knowledge of how to do things correctly.

Jeff Chase
Chase Home Inspection and Radon Testing
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Akil Walker, Agent, Upper Marlboro, MD
Wed Jan 16, 2013
There are a lot of important questions to ask. The most important for most buyers is the home ready for them to take ownership of ?

A good home inspector will take the new potential home owners thru the home and of course show them plumbing and electrical & check appliances. Review the roof and give a rough estimate of life expectancy.
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Amie Chilson, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Jan 16, 2013
There are many wise questions to ask. The "ultimate" one for me to ask them on behalf of my buyers is: "If you were inspecting this home for your son/daughter who were purchasing this property, would you sincerely give it the 'thumbs up'?"
Web Reference:  http://www.amiechilson.com
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Dan Healy, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Wed Jan 16, 2013
This is a great question.
I always encourage my buyer clients to treat the inspection process like a walking "owner's manual" for their new purchase. I think it's important to ask the inspector if there are any serious flaws that are likely to be expensive to correct. I also like to get the inspector's opinion on what items need immediate attention, what can be deferred, and what to look out for over time.
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