Tips on Hiring a Home Inspector

Tips on Hiring a Home Inspector

Shopping for a home? A quality home inspection is a must when buying a house. Home inspectors search homes for defects and hazards to help buyers and sellers be informed. Home inspectors are required to complete a home inspection training course or pass an exam to become certified in most states.

After all, a home inspection is the one chance you’re gonna get to learn about the true condition of the home that, for many, is the most expensive purchase in their lifetime. And first-time homebuyers have the additional disadvantage of being new to the process. How do you choose the right home inspector? This guide will help you find a reliable home inspector.

We discuss the ways you can get your home inspection taken care of.

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How to find a home inspector

You're responsible for finding an inspector when it comes time to have a home inspection. You can choose from a variety of types of home inspections, so you need to know exactly what you are looking for. This will allow you to narrow your search.

There are many resources available to you if you have never done this before. You can ask your friends and family for recommendations on inspectors you should use or avoid. Asking your realtor for suggestions is a great place to start. They likely have years of experience working with inspectors and know who is good and who isn’t. You can also build a list of inspectors by contacting professional organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers.

These organizations have a search feature on their websites to help you locate home inspectors near you. And finally, there are home service websites. These sites are an excellent resource. All of these recommendations will help you narrow down your search, and provide an idea of the average cost of a home inspection in your area.

What to look for in a good home inspector

Choose a home inspector you can trust. You may want to think about the qualities of a good inspector as you narrow down your list.

Ideal home inspectors should be:

  • Experienced
  • Knowledgeable
  • Responsive
  • Organized
  • Detailed
  • An excellent communicator
  • Patient

It is understandable that it can be difficult to distinguish these qualities from online searches and reviews. You should therefore interview candidates before you hire a home inspector. Even if you have heard glowing reviews about your home inspector from other people in the neighborhood, it is still important to interview them.

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Before choosing a home inspector

To get the most from your home inspection, you must prepare. Call any prospective inspectors to discuss the pricing and ask pertinent questions about home inspections. Ask about the process of the inspection. Real professionals will crawl up into the crawlspace and attic instead of looking around the doorway or opening. You can also prepare by following these steps:

Find out what kind of home inspection you need

Decide if you need a pre-listing inspection for a seller or buyer. Also, determine if you require a new construction inspection, or other inspection services. You'll want to know the cost and duration of different inspections.

Check the qualifications and references of your home inspector

Double-check to ensure that the inspectors you are considering are qualified and certified to conduct home inspections within your state. Check their reviews and references to see if their previous clients were happy with their service.

What to ask your home inspector

A key step in preparing for your home inspection is to prepare a list of questions that you will ask both before and during the inspection. As you search for the best home inspector, here are some things to consider.

How many inspections have they performed

ASHI membership requires 250 inspections, but this is the minimum experience required to perform a quality inspection. Find someone with at least 1,000 inspections, and at least 3 to 5 years full-time in the field. The more experience the inspector has, the less likely it is that they will miss anything.

Ask about insurance and licensing

If your state requires proof of licensure, ask for proof of general liability and errors and omissions insurance. E&O coverage protects the inspector as well as the homeowner when mistakes are made by even the most experienced professionals.

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Ask about technology

Home inspection technology has evolved, just like everything else in the 21st-century. Modern technology allows inspectors to perform more thorough inspections, while also making them safer, quicker, and more affordable.

These experts use specialized tech to make an informed inspection report. Ask potential inspectors what technology they will use to conduct the inspection during your interview.

Home inspectors can use a variety of technologies, including:

  • Thermal imaging
  • Moisture meters
  • Electrical circuit monitors
  • Videoscopes
  • Leak detectors in pools
  • Home inspection software
  • Drones

Request a sample inspection report

After your home inspection, you will receive a report detailing any problems or red flags that were found. You can ask for a sample of the report ahead of time to ensure that the inspector is organized and thorough.

You may want to reconsider if the sample report provided by a potential home inspector is only a list of boxes that have been checked. If the sample report includes graphics, explanations and useful references then you can be assured that the inspector will provide the same type of report. When you interview candidates, determine if the home inspector will answer your questions.

Talk about the costs

Paying for things like home inspections is one of the differences between renting and owning. And it is recommended that you obtain this information in writing before hiring someone. Costs vary based on factors such as the size and age of a house.

It's important to get several quotes from different home inspectors in your area. You may be able to save several hundred dollars and still get a thorough inspection.

Hire your home inspector tips

After you have narrowed down your list, there are some smart things to do.

  • You should interview more than one person to get a better idea of the options available in your locality.
  • You can ask to do a background check on the inspector to make sure they haven't been in serious legal trouble before.
  • Get all the details, including scope and cost, in writing once you have hired a home inspection service.

Home inspector red flags to watch out for

Although most do a good job, you should be aware of a few red flags when selecting an inspector. These include:

  • Missing certification: Ask for certifications from inspectors and avoid those who refuse to provide them.
  • No insurance: If you have any reason to suspect that the home inspector has given an incorrect or incomplete report, this can cause legal and financial problems in the future.
  • Rock Bottom Prices: Inexperienced inspectors are often the cause of cheap inspections. They may miss important issues during their inspection.
  • Boilerplate Inspection Reports: Avoid inspectors that give verbal, vague or incomplete inspection reports.
  • Overly Quick Inspections: Select an inspector known for being thorough and patient.
  • Lack of experience: Inspectors who have more experience know where and what to look for, which can save you money and time.

After the inspection

The report of a home inspection will reveal any problems that need to be fixed and also other information for homeowners or potential purchasers. After the inspection, there are still a few tasks to be completed.

home inspection report

Read the report thoroughly

Many inspectors deliver their reports the same day as the inspection. Read the report carefully and absorb the findings. The best home inspection report is easy to read, precise, and includes multiple images and diagrams.

You can consult a guide to help you decipher the report or ask your professional to explain it in a more simple language.

Keep the report somewhere safe

Store the report with your other important documents in a safe place. Make a few extra copies and scan the digital version to make it more secure. You'll never know when you will need to have the home inspection report. This is especially true if you are in the middle of buying or selling a home.

Make/request repairs and changes

The property is likely noted to have home maintenance and repair issues by the inspector. If you are selling, you should fix these issues as soon as you can if you are selling your home. This will help keep your price competitive.

If you’re attempting to buy the home, you could do one of two things. Use the report to renegotiate the price of the house after the inspection. Or, you can request that the necessary repairs be made before the closing. Sometimes buyers can also request a concession. For example, if y’all agree the roof needs to be replaced, you could get those funds from the seller at closing. This way, you can choose the color and style of the new roof as well as choose the roofing contractor.

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