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The inspection gives you crucial insights into the home you're buying. Here are the questions you should ask.

If you're buying a house, a home inspection will help you uncover problems before you close the deal. Although lenders don't always require them, our real estate agents know they can detect hidden problems in a home that can cost you a lot of money down the road. Take a look at nine important questions to ask your home inspector before, during, and after the inspection.

Before the Inspection

  1. What do you charge?
    Most home inspection rates range from $300 to $600, depending on the size of the house and the going rate in the real estate market where you live. Ask the inspector about the charge in advance because payment is usually required on the day of the inspection.

  1. What do you check?
    Most home inspectors check the roof, the basement, the foundation, and the visible structure of the house, but they don't cut into walls to check for hidden problems. If they suspect electrical or plumbing problems, they will note it on their report and refer you to an electrician or plumber for further inspections.

  1. Can I join the inspection?
    The answer should be yes! Good inspectors want homeowners to join the inspection and ask questions about important systems in the house. If an inspector doesn't want you tagging along, it's best to look for a different inspector.

During the Inspection

  1. What does this mean?
    During your home inspection, the inspector will point out potential problems that may require repairs. If the inspector notes missing roof shingles, rotten floorboards, or leaks in the basement, ask about possible repairs and how much those repairs may cost.

  2. Should I be worried about this?
    Don't be afraid to ask questions if you spot potential problems. If you notice water spots on the ceiling, uneven floors, mold under the sink, or musty odors, talk to the inspector about your concerns, especially if you're looking at D.C. homes for sale that are over 50 years old.

  3. How do I maintain this?
    If you're looking at older homes, they may have inadequate electrical panels to support your lighting, electronics, and new appliances. Instead of central air and heat, you may find a boiler system in the basement. Ask your inspector about necessary maintenance and the costs of upgrades.

  4. Where are the electrical box and water shut-off valves?
    Many homebuyers have no idea where the electrical box and water shut-off valves are located until they have an emergency and need to find them. Ask your home inspector to point them out, so you're prepared in advance for an unexpected electrical outage or broken pipe under the house.

After the Inspection

  1. What are your biggest concerns?
    At the end of the inspection, your inspector will give you a summary of his results and forward a written report within a few days. This is a good time to address your concerns and ask the inspector about his major concerns. Make a punch list of flagged problems, so you can follow up on the costs of potential repairs and talk to your real estate agent about contingencies.

  2. Should I call other professionals?
    If your home inspector is concerned about specific problems like a damaged roof, electrical wiring, poor insulation, water leaks, rotten flooring or siding, or termites, you should follow up with a roofer, an electrician, a plumber, and a termite company. The home inspector can only note the problems but can't tell you how extensive they are or how much repairs will cost.

If you're considering a move to D.C., contact us about neighborhoods, homes, and prices that fit your family's lifestyle.

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