The home inspection is one of the most important parts of the house buying process. If the inspection turns up issues, that could save you from buying a "lemon." If the home inspection reveals that everything is good, you can go forward with the sale feeling confident. However, there is a wide range when it comes to what home buyers get out of the home inspection process. Some get a brief "the home is fine" reassurance, while others get detailed insight into the history and build of the house they're supposed to buy.
Surely, it starts with hiring a good inspector. But if you want to get the most out of a home inspection, there are a few things you should do, too.
You can opt not to be present during the home inspection. The inspector will check things out and contact you with what they know. However, you don't get as much out of the process this way. If at all possible, schedule the inspection for a time when you can be there and walk around with the inspector. This way, you will see exactly what they are talking about when they point out certain things, instead of guessing or relying on pictures.
As you walk through the house with the home inspector, don't be afraid to ask questions. If you see something that does not look quite right to you, ask the inspector whether it's an issue and ask them to explain why or why not. If the inspector uses terminology you don't understand, ask them to explain more clearly. If they point out a small issue, ask how it can be remedied. You're paying them for the time they are in the home, so you might as well get the most out of that time.
Bring a Friend Along
Bring a friend or family member with you to the inspection. They may think of questions you don't think of, or notice potential issues that you overlook. The more this friend knows about houses and construction, the better.
Either take notes as you go along or have your friend do the same. This way, you can look back over them later and email the inspector with any lingering concerns you might have. Most inspectors will be happy to get back to you with answers.
If you follow the tips above, you will feel as though you got a lot of insight as a part of the home inspection process, which is important whether the home ends up passing or failing the inspection.