5 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
5 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
1. What is the condition of the roof?
Before purchasing a home, it is smart to ask the inspector about the condition and age of the roof. The seller of the home may know the roof’s age, but it is still important to understand the life expectancy of the roof. The life span of a roof can range from 15-30 years, depending on the type of shingle used. Often the life useful life of a roof is shorter than the expected number of years. This is due to weather, accidents, etc. harming the shingles. The inspector will be able to estimate the actual remaining life expectancy.
Shingles can be a costly hassle to have replaced. The life expectancy of the current shingles is a good thing to know, so you can plan for the replacement in the future. It is also very important to know if any of the shingles have been compromised. Even a small leak in the roof, that is not caught, can cause major damage to the roof decking. Replacing a roof’s framing, decking & shingles is very expensive—much more expensive than having a roof inspection to find and fix the little vulnerabilities.
2. How much insulation is present in the attic?
The ability of a type of insulation to reduce heat flow is referred to as its’ R-Value. Each type of insulation has a different R-Value. Depending on the location of the home and the area of the home being insulated, an optimal R-Value is assigned. Your inspector will see the type and amount of insulation already present, then use information like that in these charts to recommend a plan of action. KY falls in Zone 4:
3. What is the condition of the HVAC?
“There are three types of HVAC systems in homes located in the United States – all-in-one HVAC systems (such as a heat pump system), a dedicated air conditioning system (or swamp cooler), and a dedicated heating unit.” (Homegauge.com)
The HVAC system is one of the most expensive big-ticket items in a home. An unmaintained HVAC can cause your home to have low air quality and circulation in your home. This can have real impacts on your health. During an inspection, the inspector will note the age, performance capacity, installation date, the quality of installation, and any repairs needed or expected soon. These can all be important when you are buying a home. There is nothing worse than moving into a new house & the HVAC going out in 2 weeks. Know what you’re getting before you sign those closing papers!
4. Where is the main water shutoff?
While this may not seem like one of the most important things to know about your new home, it could be a disaster one day if you do not know where the water shut-off is. The main shut-off will turn off all the access to water inside the house. If the sink starts spewing water or a pipe burst in the winter, you’re going to want to know how to shut that water off ASAP! Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage. Turning that flowing water off quickly can be the difference between thousands of dollars in additional water damage repairs.
The inspector will locate the shut-off during the inspection and provide you with the location and information on how to shut it off, if needed. Everyone living in the home should learn this!
5. Did you notice foundation concerns?
The foundation is what supports the weight of the home and keeps the soil from eroding the structural integrity of the home. There are different types of foundations—slab, crawl space, basement—each with their own set of concerns. The inspector will thoroughly check the inside and outside of the home for things like oddly sloping floors, bulging or bowing, cracks in the foundation, and improperly cut joists. The inspector may suggest you get the home further evaluated by a structural engineer if they find signs of serious issues. The quicker you find these issues, the better. They can get extremely expensive the worse they become. Be sure to check out the article in the resources for more details of what a structural engineer would be looking at. Here are a couple pictured examples of red flags an inspector may raise when it comes to a foundation inspection: