The home inspection process is an important part of buying your first home, and not one you can sit out of. The home inspection is crucial as it will bring to light any issues with the home that weren’t seen or disclosed by the seller’s agent.

It’s particularly important for first time home buyers to take an active role in the inspection process. These eight questions should be asked before and during the home inspector’s walk through.

1. May I Verify Your License?

Home inspectors need to be licensed, and they will be happy to verify that they are up-to-date by showing you their license. If they refuse to do so or are unable to do so, you’re better off working with someone else.

One of the best ways to find a home inspector is through recommendations, and your buyer’s agent is a great place to start. However, no matter who referred the inspector, always check for the license.

2. What Is Your Education And Experience?

In order to get and maintain licensure, home inspectors are expected to complete continuing education courses regularly. Not all homes are created the same, and so you want an inspector who will know what to look for, whether your house is brand new or historic. Remember that the inspection will let you know about the functionality of systems within the home, so it’s essential that your inspector is up-to-date on the latest developments and technology.

3. What Is Included In The Inspection?

It’s useful to ask this ahead of the actual walk through so that you can start to familiarize yourself with what will be covered, and what you don’t know. On the day of the inspection, you can then ask timely questions of the inspector during the process — particularly on those areas that you were unclear about.

4. How Long Will The Inspection Take?

You want your inspector to plan on being at your house for around two or three hours on the day of the walk through. If they tell you they can do it in an hour then this should raise a red flag; the inspection is meant to be a thorough and detailed walk through, not just checking off a list.

5. Who Should Fix That?

Your inspector isn’t meant to be an all-in-one resource regarding your home’s future, but they can help you understand the scope of a problem. Don’t ask how much repairs will cost — this is a variable and loaded question that is outside of their responsibility — but instead, ask them who should be located to fix a problem. If they tell you it is something you can easily handle on your own and will cost under $50, then you know the problem isn’t necessarily big enough to tank the deal.

However, if it is a bigger problem, the inspector may even recommend contractors who can give you bids on needed repairs before your inspection contingency runs out.

6. What Is The Electrical Wiring And Voltage Like?

Depending on the age of the home, the electrical system may be complicated or not. Newer systems will typically be safer and have a higher voltage, meaning you can use the items in your home that you want. Ask whether the wiring has been tampered with by a non-professional source, and verify that the system is up to current code. Having to rewire an entire house can add up, and may be something you can negotiate with the seller.

7. What Are The Pipes Like?

When your inspector is surveying the plumbing system, ask how old the pipes are and what quality they are in. Older houses come with older pipes which are susceptible to breakage that will end with even bigger problems.

8. What Is The Drainage Like?

The home inspector will be a useful source of information about potential future problems. For example, if you’ve only ever visited the property on a dry day, you may never have seen that it actually floods, dampening the basement. The inspector will be able to look at the drainage for any potential danger to your property.

There are plenty more areas of concern during a home inspection, including sewage, the roof, heating systems, and more. The home inspection won’t give you every answer, but staying involved with the process will help boost its efficacy even more. When you’re ready to get started with the home buying process, answer a few questions here and a home lending expert will contact you.