Top Questions to Ask a Home Inspector When Buying a House

Top Questions to Ask a Home Inspector When Buying a House

Buying a house is one of the most significant investments you'll ever make, and ensuring that you make an informed decision is crucial. One of the best ways to safeguard your investment is to hire a qualified home inspector. A thorough inspection can uncover potential issues that may not be immediately apparent, saving you from costly repairs down the road. However, to get the most out of your inspection, it’s important to ask the right questions. Here are the top questions to ask a home inspector when buying a house.

1. What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Understanding the scope of the inspection is vital. Different inspectors might have varying protocols, so clarify whether the inspection includes:

• Structural elements (foundation, walls, roof)
• Electrical systems
• Plumbing systems
• HVAC systems
• Appliances
• Insulation and ventilation
• Exterior (siding, paint, and trim)
• Interior (ceilings, walls, floors)
• Attic and basement/crawlspace

2. Are You Certified and Insured?

Ensure that your home inspector has the necessary certifications and insurance. In the U.S., reputable inspectors often have certifications from organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Insurance is also crucial as it protects you if something goes wrong during the inspection.

3. Can I See a Sample Report?

Finding a qualified inspector early in this fast paced market is a good idea. Ask to see a sample report to get an idea of how thorough and detailed their inspections are. A good report should include photos and descriptions of any issues found, with clear explanations and recommendations for further actions.

4. How Long Will the Inspection Take?

The duration of the inspection can vary based on the size and condition of the home. Typically, a thorough inspection takes 2-3 hours. If an inspector says they can do it in significantly less time, that might be a red flag.

5. Can I Attend the Inspection?

Being present during the inspection allows you to ask questions on the spot and get a better understanding of the home’s condition. A good inspector will welcome your presence and explain their findings as they go along.

6. What Are Major Issues Versus Minor Issues?

Not all problems found during an inspection are deal-breakers. Ask the inspector to differentiate between major issues that need immediate attention or could affect your decision to buy the house, and minor issues that are less urgent or easy to fix.

7. What Are Your Recommendations?

After identifying issues, a good inspector should be able to suggest what kind of professional you need to consult for further evaluation or repairs, whether it's a structural engineer, electrician, plumber, or roofer.

8. How Much Will Repairs Cost?

While home inspectors aren’t contractors, they often have a good idea of how much certain repairs might cost. Ask for rough estimates to help you budget for any necessary work. 

9. Is This Home Up to Code?

Code compliance is critical for safety and future resale. Ask if there are any areas where the home doesn’t meet current building codes, especially for significant elements like electrical wiring and plumbing.

10. Are There Any Environmental Concerns?

Inspectors should check for environmental issues such as mold, asbestos, lead paint, or radon. These can pose health risks and be costly to mitigate.

11. Do You Offer Re-Inspections?

Sometimes, sellers will agree to make repairs before the sale is finalized. Ask if the inspector can do a follow-up inspection to ensure that the repairs were done correctly.

12. What Should I Address First After Moving In?

After the inspection, you’ll likely have a list of issues to address. Ask the inspector to prioritize these for you, so you know which ones need to be dealt with immediately after moving in and which can wait.


Hiring a home inspector is an essential step in the home-buying process. By asking these key questions, you can ensure that you choose a qualified inspector and gain a comprehensive understanding of the home’s condition. This knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions, negotiate effectively, and ultimately protect your investment. 

I have worked with many inspectors and would be happy to recommend some to you!


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