7 questions to ask to your building inspector while your property is being inspected
Last modified: 2021/08/20 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
After visiting several properties, have you finally landed on the place of your dreams? Before you proceed to buy the home, don't forget to have it looked at by an expert!
The pre-purchase inspection carried out by a certified building inspector is essential to ensure the smooth running of the real estate transaction. It not only gives you a complete picture of the quality of the home, but it is also a tool of choice for negotiating the sale price, in the event that significant potential issues are discovered.
Although you don't have to be present for the inspection, it is still strongly recommended that you be there. Witnessing the expert's tour of the property can be of great benefit to you. Being there means that you will be able to clarify certain points in person, instead of simply reading them in the final report and having questions afterwards.
If you are present, you can ask the home inspector the questions directly, as they arise. To help you, we've put together a list of questions you might ask your home inspector during your visit.
Pre-purchase inspection: 7 questions to ask a home inspector during the visit
1. How does this work?
This first question may seem trivial, but it can sometimes be of great help. Are you unfamiliar with some of the equipment on the property (the type of water heating system, natural gas, heat pump, etc.)? Ask your home inspector for more information.
Since he or she is a specialist trained to spot potential malfunctions in most parts of a property, the home inspector also knows how systems work when there are no problems. They will most likely be able to instruct you on how to use the equipment in question and give you some tips for maintaining it.
2. How serious are the issues with the property?
Did the inspector find any irregularities during the visit? Feel free to ask questions to gauge the severity and extent of potential problems. Are these minor or major issues? Are they urgent or not?
Knowing the importance of each of the problematic elements will help you set priorities should you decide to buy the property and do the renovations yourself. It also increases your bargaining power in the event that large-scale work is required. You could renegotiate the sale price or require the work to be done by the current owner.
Some minor or cosmetic issues, such as sloppy joints or improperly installed switches, do not have a real impact on the value of the property. It is still interesting to identify them, to conclude the transaction with full knowledge of the facts.
Regardless of the nature of the irregularity that is pointed out(insulation, ventilation, electricity, plumbing, etc.), ask the inspector to explain the potential risks to you. You will therefore avoid unpleasant surprises.
3. Is this frequent (or normal) for the year of construction?
Some irregularities raised during the inspection could appear to be a "normal" problem depending on the year the property was built. For example, the presence of asbestos in a property built before the 1980s is more common, but it is still a serious problem.
There are also problems resulting from "abnormal" wear, as a result of poor maintenance by the current owner, for example. Some of these irregularities could hide a bigger problem and require further study to assess the state of the property.
4. What renovations should be done as a priority?
As we mentioned in question 2, knowing the extent of the problems detected allows us to establish which work should be done as a priority.
If more than one major job has been identified by the inspector and you are unsure of where you should start, you may want to appeal to their expert opinion. They will be able to guide you as to the priority of each of the problems detected.
5. Should I hire a specialist to investigate this problem with the building?
While they can spot most potential problems with a property, home inspectors are generalists. As a result, they do not have the necessary equipment to conduct more precise research, either to investigate a problem identified or to perform other analyzes.
For example, if you want to analyze the air quality following the discovery of the presence of mould, you will have to call an external specialist.
Do not hesitate to ask your home inspector if any malfunctions they have identified require, in their opinion, a second more in-depth inspection.
6. Should I hire a contractor to do the repairs?
Along the same lines as the previous question, you can ask your home inspector if the repairs to be made require the services of an expert. This will be the case, among other things, if the work represents a risk if poorly executed, such as in the case of electrical work. The inspector can provide you with information on the type of contractor to hire. You can use a platform like RenoQuotes.com to find your contractors.
If you are comfortable doing minor work, the inspector will probably be able to briefly explain the steps to undertake and the types of materials or tools you will need to have in order to carry them out.
7. What is your general opinion of the property?
Be aware that the home inspector is not authorized to answer a question such as, "Would you buy this house? ", whether their answer is yes or no. However, without getting a clear answer to this question, you can still ask them for their general opinion on the property once the inspection has been completed.
Knowing the inspector's impressions of what could be the most important investment of your life is essential. This will give you a general idea of the condition of the property and, at the same time, will have a good chance of influencing your decision.
In addition to the questions mentioned in this article, feel free to ask the home inspector any questions that bother you. Helping you make an informed decision is part of their role. This way, the more questions you ask, the more confident you will be about the state of the property and your final decision.
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