In real estate, timing is (almost) everything. Right now, the Lake Havasu market sits squarely in the seller’s favor. Buying a home during a seller’s market requires a skilled REALTOR, a pre-approval letter from your lender, and the flexibility to look at a listing as soon as you hear about it. Once you enter escrow, you will want to hire a pro to perform a home inspection to check for potential issues hidden below the surface. Here are some questions you need to ask your inspector before, during, and after the inspection.
Home Inspection Questions for Buyers
Before the Inspection
Ask them about their experience (how long have they been doing this) and their qualifications. What will they check and what is not part of the inspection? How much do they charge? (Hint: someone who charges much lower than other inspectors, this should raise a red flag.) Request to join them for the inspection. If they say “no”, move along to another inspector. Find out how long they expect the inspection to take. If you live in an older Havasu home and they say “an hour” for example, that could indicate that their inspection will not be thorough enough. On the other hand, if they quote a half a day for a 1200 square foot home, that could indicate that their level of expertise may be very low. Request a sample report so you have a good idea of what to expect in your own inspection report. Even new construction can come with issues. Avoid panicking by knowing what to expect.
During the Inspection
A confident inspector allows the buyer to attend the home inspection with them. During the inspection itself, they might point out areas that may need repairs or things to keep an eye out for after you move in. Feel free to ask for clarification when necessary. Inquire about what they consider to be a “big deal” and what is more of a “minor issue”. When you see something that causes you concern (water spots, possible mold, cracks in the ceiling, etc.), ask your inspector whether or not it is something to be concerned about. Most likely, they already noted it on their inspection. But you can still pick their brain while they’re at the site. Finally, once they’re done, ask them about what areas of the property concern them the most.
After the Inspection
Once you receive your home inspection report, you may question some of the findings. Don’t panic. Contact your inspector and ask them for clarification where needed. Ask them what areas need attention right away and what it would cost to fix them. This includes things that might need to be done as soon as you move in. Find out which issues require a professional’s follow-up, such as potential electrical, plumbing, roofing, or foundation issues.
Keep this in mind: an inspector will not tell you if you should buy a house or not. However, they can tell you which issues are big and which are minor enough to not be dealbreakers. In turn, that will help you determine if you need to ask the seller for repairs before closing, if the repairs are minor enough for you to deal with after closing, or if you should walk away from the deal completely.