TIPS FOR CHOOSING A HOME INSPECTOR
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HOME INSPECTOR AND WHAT TO AVOID
Buying a home is often one of the largest investments we make in our lives. Having a home inspection can give you an in-depth snapshot of what you’re investing in. While inspections aren’t always required during the home buying process, they are strongly recommended to give you valuable insight into the property you’re buying.
A home inspector evaluates the condition of a home, including the assessment of necessary or recommended repairs and maintenance concerns. Choosing the right home inspector to be in your home-buying corner means finding one who is reputable, knowledgeable, honest, and thorough.
Below is a guide to finding the home inspector you need along with some green and red flags to factor into your decision:
FINDING A HOME INSPECTOR
Get a head start finding a home inspector prior to shopping for your home. It’s likely that time will be the of essence after entering a purchase agreement and you shouldn’t feel pressured into choosing the first inspector you meet. Do your due diligence to allow yourself the time to consider your options.
An excellent place to start your search is by word of mouth. Lean on your family and friends who may have had good experiences with certain inspectors. Your agent should also have at least three recommendations that will give you a solid place to begin.
As you begin to zero in on prospects, make sure the inspector has proven history of thorough and reliable work. Often times the best place to go for unbiased reviews is Google. Read beyond the star rating and look for authenticity, transparency, and consistency in client experiences.
In addition, do not be afraid to ask questions. Trustworthy home inspectors will welcome questions and be prompt, transparent, and straightforward in their answers. Inquire about their background in the industry and what kind of report they will provide you. Always request sample reports and review their quality of work.
Additionally, you’ll want to confirm that the inspector you choose is familiar with the particular type of house being inspected. Homes of different ages, designs, and materials pose different risks and signs of damage.
LOOK FOR LICENSE & CERTIFICATIONS
Did you know that you have to be licensed to inspect properties in 35 states? New Hampshire is a licensed state so make sure the inspector you choose possesses the required licenses and insurance. Inspectors that receive certification from InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or ASHI (American Society of Home Inspections) have to pass rigorous technical examinations and follow a strict code of ethics. While these certifications don’t guarantee the quality of an inspector, it is an indication of training and professionalism.
WHAT’S INCLUDED AND ADDITIONAL SERVICES
A typical inspection should cover all the systems of the home with enough detail to establish the proper repairs that may be needed. Depending on the home you’re considering, you may want to add additional services the inspector offers such as mold assessments, radon testing, well inspections or sewer/septic inspections.
An inspector will likely have specialists that they refer you to for certain things like septic inspections. They’ll refer someone who is reputable because that person will be reflection of the inspector. However, you will still want to look into anyone referred to you and make that decision for yourself.
PRIORITIZE QUALITY OF PRICE
In the midst of the expensive home buying process, it’s understandable wanting to save a few bucks where we can. However, ensuring the quality and type of service provided by your home inspector should be priority A. After you’ve narrowed your choices down to a quality of service you’re satisfied with, then shop between them for the best price.
In most instances, you get what you pay for and prices for home inspections vary based on factors like the location, size, and the age of the property. Be wary of cheap inspections as it may indicate lack of experience, certifications, attention to detail, or insurance. In addition, question excessively priced inspectors that lack quality reviews, provide minimal information on their website, or take multiple days to provide reports.
Regardless of where an inspector sits on the pricing spectrum, be prepared for variances in costs and look deeper into the type and quality of service you’re getting for those prices.
GREEN FLAGS TO LOOK FOR
Reputable home inspectors will have a wide variety of authentic and transparent reviews and references that are consistent in quality of service and positive client experiences.
They’re a good communicator.
Whether it’s before, during, or after the inspection, a trustworthy inspector will communicate clearly, honestly, and promptly.
They have sample reports or past reports available or available by request.
Inspectors may have sample reports available on their website or will send them to you if requested.
They invite you to take part in the inspection.
Your inspector should invite you to walk through the inspection with them, answering any questions you may have and encourage you to learn everything you can about your home.
They’re Licensed and InterNACHI or ASHI certified.
InterNACHI and ASHI certified inspectors follow a strict code of ethics and these certifications guarantee a level of professionalism and technical knowledge.
They offer thorough and timely reports.
Reports will provide color photographs / videos and clearly state any problems found, their significance, and the recommended courses of action. They also deliver reports within 24 hours to offer clients plenty of time for review and consideration.
RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
They evade or don’t answer your questions.
Even if an inspector is busy, it’s not a good sign if you’ve reached out and haven’t heard back in hours. If your attempts to communicate have gone unanswered, move on. Go with an inspector who makes an effort to answer your questions in a timely manner or who notifies you that they’re busy and when you can expect a response.
Their business is lacking in their number of reviews or lack consistent, quality reviews.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing if a business doesn’t have a lot of reviews but it’s still something to be aware of. And blatant bad reviews are definitely red flags to avoid in a home inspector. Either way, it’s a safer bet to choose an inspector who has a lot of consistent, good reviews.
They don’t agree to send sample reports or the sample reports are lacking length, photos, information, or recommendations.
A complete report can be anywhere from 25-75 pages that are chock-full of information that detail the condition of the systems in your home. If the sample report is only a few pages long, it’s a red flag that may mean the inspector is not thorough or lazy. Furthermore, if you’ve requested a sample report from an inspector who can’t or won’t provide you with one, that’s a deal breaker.
They tell you that you don’t need to be or don’t want you present for the inspection.
The purpose of a home inspection is to educate the client about the condition of a home. The report is only half of that education, the other half is being present for the inspection. An inspector who is unwilling to perform their inspection with others or who doesn’t recommend their client join them does not have their client’s best interest in mind. The time of inspection is what you’re investing in to be able to ask questions and become informed.
Their inspections are very quick.
An inspector should be at the site inspecting for anywhere between 2-4 hours depending on the size and age of a home. The term “drive-by inspection” refers to an inspector that doesn’t spend sufficient amount of time at a property. Lastly, you want a professional who will take their time to ensure they don’t leave any stone unturned.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR INSPECTOR
- Are you licensed as a home inspector and what certifications do you have?
- Are you a full time inspector?
- What is included in the inspection and do you offer any additional services?
- Are you insured with errors and omissions insurance?
- What is included in your inspection report and can I have a sample report to review?
- How far in advance do I need to schedule an inspection?
- How long will the inspection take?
- How soon after the inspection will I receive my report?
- Can you provide references?
- Any other questions you have or feel may pertain to your home!
Leave a ReplyWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!