Once you and the seller come to an agreement on this, there’s no going back on it, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about the home’s condition and what kinds of problems it may cause down the road. Doing this means knowing the right questions to ask the inspector. Forbes Real Estate Council members recommend bringing these 14 questions up during the property inspection for your new home.
1. Can You Recommend An Expert To Look Into This Further?
I think many homeowners only go by what the inspector says and do not look into possible problems more deeply. An inspector is knowledgeable about many subjects, but are often an expert at nothing. If there is a problem with the heating, electrical or another major system, an expert in that field should be brought in to evaluate things further. It may be worse or better than the inspector thinks. – Mark Ferguson, InvestFourMore
2. What Should I Repair First?
Homebuyers need to know that no home is 100% perfect. I encourage my clients to ask the inspector to prioritize any repairs or concerns. For example: What needs to be fixed now and what can be fixed later? This way, the results of the home inspection are in perspective. Focus on the big stuff in the request for repairs, and choose an agent with affordable contractor referrals for the rest. – Courtney Poulos, ACME Real Estate
3. What Would You Do If You Were Buying This House?
I always like to ask the inspector what they would fix right away if they were buying the home. Typically, there’s a laundry list of minor repair items that come up in an inspection, especially in older homes. This way, you can prioritize the list of repairs and also have a better idea of what is a serious issue that should be addressed now versus something that can be taken care of down the road. – Brad Le, Compass
4. What Else Could Go Wrong?
During the inspection, the inspector will identify issues and suggest repairs. Before deciding who should repair it, it is important to consider a few things: How serious is the issue, is there a potential of finding more during the repair and is this something I would want the seller repairing from a quality of work perspective? Inspectors can provide some insight and then consult other pros. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Team Texas/Independent Realty
5. How Much Will This Cost?
Every home inspection will overturn a list of repairs, regardless of the property age. While seeing this list can be daunting, it’s important to consider that everything is fixable. If the seller is unwilling to do repairs, it doesn’t need to kill the deal. Buyers should ask how soon repairs need to be done and consider the costs alongside the value of the home. – Beatrice de Jong, Open Listings (YC W15)
6. What Fire, Safety, Health And Water Hazards Exist Here?
Forget cosmetic repairs and focus on fire, safety, health and water hazards. Look for repairs such as a gas leak, a water leak in the attic, evidence of mold, out of date GFCI or out-of-code electrical wiring. If any of these items pop up on your report, make sure you have the items repaired or your home loan may not be approved for underwriting. These issues could also cause harm to your family. – Angela Yaun, Day Realty Group
7. What Would You Do To The Property If I Gave You The Money For It?
When buying multifamily, I always ask the property manager, “What would you do to the property if I gave you $200,000?” Framing it as a positive question, I often hear the truth about the true state of the property, especially with parts of the property that has issues that have not been discovered during the initial inspection. – Ellie Perlman, Blue Lake Capital LLC
8. Can I Speak With Your Current Tenant?
In commercial, nothing is more paramount than finding out how a tenant is doing by talking to the tenant directly. A tenant may have three years left on a lease agreement but if sales are low and they have not paid back reconciliations for the prior years’ expenses, a lease may not be worth much at all. – Bethany Babcock, Foresite Commercial Real Estate
9. What Kind Of Condition Is The Roof In?
Ensure that your comprehensive inspection includes the roof, which is often overlooked but could result in causing the deal to fall apart for inspection objection or insurance objection if there are age or damage issues. If the roof is over 35 years old, most insurance companies will not insure the property. – Garratt Hasenstab, The Mountain Life Companies™
10. What Is The Current Delinquency Rate?
High delinquency rate usually provides useful information about the stability of the revenue stream. If the existing tenants have high delinquencies rate, it might signal poor resident screening and a potential risk. It also might signal potential evictions. – Noam Hameiri, DEELS Properties | California Home Builders
11. Are Any Of These Issues Normal Wear And Tear?
The main factors here are first-time homebuyers panicking when they see a long home inspection list or green investors not being thorough enough with the items that really cost a lot of money. The home inspection report can be scary. Ask what items really need to be fixed right away, or not. Find out which problems are typical or normal wear and tear, and which ones are really problematic. – Kent Clothier, Real Estate Worldwide
12. What Warranties Or Maintenance Contracts Will Be Transferred To Me?
Always ask about the most costly repairs and prioritize in order what needs to be repaired by the seller and a timeframe to complete. Request the latest roof repairs for warranties, HVAC exiting maintenance contracts to replace filters, any former asbestos removal, electrical replacements, water heater repairs, parking and driveway repairs. Most importantly is to get everything in writing. – Pamela J. Goodwin, Goodwin Commercial
13. Will The Trees On The Property Be A Hazard Down The Road?
Trees are so often overlooked as a potential hazard until it’s too late. Yes, they look great, provide privacy and all that, but that towering oak that looked so great in the photos is a potential disaster waiting to happen. During inspections, hire an arborist who can identify if certain branches are hazardous, if the tree is diseased or if the root structure is damaging the home’s foundation. – Ari Afshar, Compass
14. Do I See Any Of My Own Personal Dealbreakers?
Create the list of all things you wouldn’t want to discover about your new apartment the morning after you moved in, and ask questions about every single one. Here are a few of mine: Are there smokers living in the nearby units, on the same floor or above and below? Are all the listed amenities included in the common charges? If a washer and dryer aren’t installed, are they allowed? – Elliot Bogod, Broadway Realty