We say it all the time; a house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. There are very few other things in the world that cost more than $100,000, and most people will never spend more money on something else than they do on their home.

Since houses are so expensive, it is common knowledge that you should always have a home inspected before buying. Home inspectors play a crucial role in protecting your interests as a buyer, as the home inspection process can help prospective buyers to make an informed decision about a property. Sometimes, home inspectors can provide extra insight if you know the right questions to ask them - especially if you are looking at older homes. Here are some of the most important questions to ask a home inspector.


1.    How Much Do You Charge for a Home Inspection?

Before you start working with a particular home inspector, it is crucial that you understand exactly how much they’ll charge you. While most home inspection costs range between $250 and $750, this range is pretty broad and can vary even further. Your potential home inspector will consider the size of the home, timeline, and local area to determine the price of the inspection.

When you are buying a house, the costs can all start to add up quickly. Making sure you know exactly how much you’ll be asked to pay once the inspection is done is important to know before the inspection begins.

While price is important, the most important thing is that you work with a good inspector. If you can get a good inspection for $300, by all means do it. However, don’t switch from a good inspector to a questionable one just to save a couple of hundred dollars.


2.    What Aspects of the House Do You Inspect?

Inspectors tend to follow a pretty standard checklist. From the foundation to the roof and most things in between, you can generally expect an inspection to cover the most important parts of the house. However, not all inspectors follow the exact same checklist, and it’s a good idea to make sure that the inspector you choose will inspect every important nook and cranny of the house.


Preowned home ready for inspection


3.    What Aspects of the House Don’t You Inspect?

Sometimes asking the same question in a different way can be very valuable, and that is often the case with this one. If you ask an inspector what parts of the house they will inspect, they’ll likely give you a comprehensive response. However, amid all of the areas that they do inspect, it might be hard to notice a key area that they do not inspect. If you directly ask them what aspects of the house they don’t inspect, they’ll be able to provide a much more straightforward answer.


4.    How Long Have You Been a Home Inspector?

Work experience matters, especially when you have hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. While more experience doesn’t always correlate to being better at a job, it can’t hurt. Working with an experienced, qualified home inspector is almost always a better option than working with someone without much experience on the job, as a “rookie mistake” by the inspector can cost YOU thousands of dollars. The best inspectors have been in the field for years and are affiliated with either the American Society of Home Inspectors or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.


5.    Can I See One of Your Previous Home Inspection Reports?

This question is a double-edged sword. Firstly, it is always good to see a sample report, as you can determine whether or not you think the inspection is thorough, easy to read, and comprehensive. Knowing what the report of your prospective house would look like is a good idea. On the other hand, the inspection shouldn’t show you an actual inspection report of another home, as it might contain private or confidential information about someone else’s home. If your inspector shows you a real, unredacted inspection report of another home, this is a red flag and odds are your own private information could be at risk if you work with them.


6.    Can I Be Present During the Inspection?

A home inspection is conducted with one person/group in mind: you and your family. It is not for anyone else. As such, you should absolutely be allowed to attend the inspection. If your inspector says that she or he likes to work alone, you should probably look for a new inspector. While reading the inspection report is nice, nothing beats seeing the potential issues in person at the moment that the inspector identifies them.


living room of house for sale


7.    What Are Your Biggest Concerns About the Property?

Home Inspectors work with hundreds of houses, and they have a pretty good idea about which issues are major, which are minor, and which should cause you to walk away from a potential deal. While they will document these findings in the inspection, it is a great idea to directly ask them what they think the biggest issues are, and whether or not they recommend moving forward with the purchase. In cases that require further inspection, your inspector may refer you to a structural engineer who can zero in on a specific issue.


8.    How Much Work Does the House Need, and How Much Would the Repairs Cost?

Inspectors are not general contractors, and they might not always feel comfortable providing price estimates. However, since they do this all the time, they do likely know ballparks of how expensive certain repair work can be. Ask your inspector what kind of shape the house is currently in, and approximately how much it would cost to get it up to speed. You probably don’t want to buy a house that needs months of repairs before you can be fully settled in.


9.    Is There Any Major Concerns that the Current Owner Should Fix Before Closing?

Depending on the market, you may or may not be able to get the seller to make concessions. This is especially true if the inspection reveals any major issues in the house. Foundation issues, rotten floorboards, HVAC system issues, lead paint, the condition of the roof, and a bad electrical panel are all potential problems that you may be able to ask the current owner to address before the home purchase is completed.


10. Can You Explain/Clarify (X) for Me?

Face it; you are not an expert in home construction or inspection. That is why you are hiring an inspector, after all! The whole point of working with a home inspector is to uncover issues with (or gain confidence in) the property that you are planning to buy. If there is anything at all that you don’t fully understand, it is a good idea to ask the inspector for clarification.

For example, if your inspector tells you that there is a bit of water damage in the ceiling in the second bedroom, you should probably ask what that means for you in the long run. Obviously, it means that water has gotten to the ceiling and caused damage. But what caused the damage? Will the ceiling be expensive to repair? Will the roof need to be replaced? All of these questions stem from the slight water damage on the ceiling, and you may not know the answers unless you ask.


How Can You Find a Good Home Inspector?

Good home inspectors don't grow on trees, and home buyers are often left wondering where to look. If you are working with a trustworthy real estate agent, they are likely the best place to start. Since real estate agents work with potential buyers all the time, they usually have great recommendations for finding the right home inspector and other vendors throughout the home-buying process.

This is only the case if your real estate agent is trustworthy. If your real estate agent recommends their friend or family member for your residential inspection, there might be a conflict of interest going on that you want to avoid.


Thanks for reading our post on essential questions to ask your home inspector before closing on a house. Hopefully, these questions are helpful for you as you look for a home inspector and ultimately go through the inspection process. Getting a home inspection is one of the most important parts of the entire home-buying process, and these questions can help you to get the most out of your inspection and go into closing with a full understanding of the state of your new home.


If you visit Myrtle Beach or any other place in South Carolina and fall in love, we’re here to help. We at The Boyd Team are committed to helping you find the right property for your needs and dreams. Any question that you have about moving to the area and finding your dream home by the beach is our pleasure to answer. Feel free to send us an email at eddie@boydteam.com or text or call us at (843) 222-8566, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Being true natives of the Grand Strand and Horry County and with over 25 years of experience in the local real estate market, whether buying or selling, we can help you make your dreams a reality.  

No One Knows The Grand Strand Better! Trust, Knowledge, Experience, and Professionalism You Can Count On!