Purchasing a house is the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime, so it is important that you are fully aware of what you are putting your life savings into. Hiring a home inspector is a key part of the home buying process and can sometimes even be mandatory if your funding source so chooses.

Don’t know much about how home inspections work and what to expect? We have come up with a list of 7 frequently asked questions from homeowners like you.

Where can I find a home inspector?

The best way to find a reliable and certified home inspector is through HomeStars and word of mouth. Check with your friends and family if they have recommendations and if they do, be sure to check their reviews. Having a recommended inspector takes away from the potential stresses that can come with an incompetent and unknown contractor. Doing your research at this stage will allow you to dodge costly and unexpected issues with your new home.

How long does a home inspection take?

Home inspections generally take around 2-4 hours. Obviously this question does not have a set answer as the duration of the inspection depends on many factors such as: square footage of the house, the age of the house, the condition of the house, the number of the systems to inspect (HVAC, plumbing, drains etc.), and the ability to access certain portions of the house (roof, crawl space, attic, etc.). It is important that you, the inspector, and the current homeowner set aside a significant chunk of your days for this affair in case it goes longer than usual.

Photo courtesy of CBC News

Should I attend the home inspection?

Yes, if possible. It is very beneficial for the potential buyer to attend a home inspection. By accompanying your inspector, you will have the ability to ask questions as they come up (especially important for first time home buyers), and learn where everything is and how it all works. Solely reading the inspector’s report will not give you the same clarity and insight into the property that being present would.

What will a home inspection reveal?

The whole point of doing a home inspection is to reveal potential or current problems with a property prior to the purchase of it. During the inspection, the inspector should determine if all of the systems within the house are functioning at full capacity if there are any damages to the property and if there are any repairs that are necessary. A few days post inspection, your inspector will either give you a hard copy of their report or email it to you. This report, usually many pages long, will also advise you if/how to continue on in the purchasing process including suggestions of how to renegotiate the price.

What happens if problems with the house are discovered with the home inspection?

It is quite likely that at least a few problems will come to light during the home inspection. The seller of the property is not obligated to fix any of these problems at their expense, but you the buyer can negotiate this within the contract. If they refuse, you then have the option to continue on in the purchasing process and pay for these repairs yourself, or completely terminate the contract and back away from the transaction.

How much does a home inspection cost?

Prices can vary depending on many factors including, the area of service, size of the property, and age of the property, but home inspections generally cost around $500. Keep in mind that some inspectors may include additional charges for inspecting crawl spaces, attic, basement suites etc.

What are some helpful questions to ask in a home inspection?

Being present in a home inspection allows you to ask as questions, and you might as well get as much as you can out of your money and time, so ask away. Here are a few that we think are beneficial to you as a homeowner.

Who should I get to fix this?

How do I work this?

If this were your house what are the repairs that you would do now, and what are the repairs that you would do later?

It is important to ask specific questions as the inspector’s advice is helpful in understanding the condition of the property and its worth. If you do not understand something they are saying to you, do not be afraid to ask them to clarify it.

Hiring a home inspector gives you clarity as a homeowner and can allow you to make an informed and confident decision regarding the property, whatever it may be. Although not necessary, doing a home inspection is never a bad idea.

Posted by Connor Cherrie