Getting a building inspected before you buy is a must, especially if you are purchasing the building for tenants. While you can deal with and put off some repairs if you are purchasing a home for yourself, rentals must be kept to a certain standard not just to ensure that you keep your tenants, but also to stay within renter laws. The following tips will help you get the most from your inspection.
Tip #1: Take notes
Follow the inspector around with your own clipboard and write down any issues or concerns they mention. Don't be afraid to ask questions, either. It's important that you understand everything that is a current problem or that could be a problem down the road. Questions to ask include why the inspector is checking a specific thing, or why they are skipping something else. If they mention something is a problem, find out why it is a problem or why it would need to be fixed. Then, when you get back the final inspectors report compare it to your notes. If things don't match up, ask why. The more you know the more issues you can prepare for or avoid entirely.
Tip #2: Get a full inspection
A full inspection should include plumbing, electricity, and sewer, along with the more obvious items like foundation, walls, and roof. This means your inspector should come prepared go into crawlspaces or climb into attics. Some inspectors offer multiple types of inspections, so make sure you are paying for and getting the full inspection. Beyond major building damage, plumbing, electricity, and sewer are the things most likely to cause a problem later.
Tip #3: Ask for quotes
Your inspector may be able to give quotes on repairs if they are a licensed contractor. Generally, these quotes are higher than what you would get from a dedicated repair contractor, but they serve an important purpose. Chances are you are working toward a closing deadline. Collecting quotes on issues as your inspector finds them gives you hard numbers to give to the seller if you decide to negotiate the price on the basis of repairs, or negotiate for the seller to do the repairs before closing. If you end up doing the repairs yourself, then you can get a couple more realistic quotes before beginning.
Contact your real estate agent for leads on a trustworthy and thorough inspector like those found at http://www.homeinspectionassoc-ma.com to check out your next property before you buy.