10 Tips for Choosing a Reliable Home Inspector

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A home inspection can prevent a lot of headaches for both buyers and sellers.

If you are buying a home, an inspection could reveal problems you never would’ve noticed. An inspection can require the seller to fix what needs fixing before you by the home. There may be issues found that make you decide not to buy.  The home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process!

Here are 10 tips for choosing a reliable inspector.

1.Get a reference from your real estate agent.

One of the best resources for picking a good home inspector should be your real estate agent.  If your agent has been in the busy for any length of time, they have probably encountered quite a few home inspectors.  They will be able to give you advice on who does a thorough job and who does not.

2.Look for a company that is bonded and insured.

The type of work inspectors do puts them at certain amount of risk – while climbing in attics and wandering through basements and crawl spaces accidents can occur.  Reputable home inspectors carry insurance for this reason which eliminates the risk of the homeowner from being sued if injury does occur during an inspection.

3. Verify the inspection company only does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.

This information is important as companies who do offer repair and renovation services have a conflict of interest. They are likely to see problems where there aren’t any.  Choose a home inspection company that’s focused solely on inspections.  Bring in a contractor after the inspection is over if you are interested in the cost of repairs or renovations.

4. Find out what the inspection includes and how long it takes.

Knowing what an inspector will look at will allow you to shop around and compare services.  Some inspectors may focus on one area such as the structure itself and nothing else.  A good inspector will go over every little detail of your home including:

  • The heating and air conditioning systems.
  • The basement and foundation.
  • The roof and attic.
  • The electrical system.
  • The structural condition.
  • Evidence of water penetration or grading issues.
  • Pests such as bugs and wildlife.
  • Environmental issues such as mold, radon, asbestos, and lead paint.
  • Appliances and other general components of the home.

The time given for the inspection is also a good indicator of how thorough the inspection will be.  Generally, an inspection should take 2-3 hours to complete, but if you are buying a larger home, a fixer-upper, or an older home, the inspection should take longer.

5. Get references.

Selecting an inspector is as important as choosing the right real estate agent to work with. Asking for references allows you to reach out to previous clients and ask how their experience was when working with the inspector.  Did the inspector seem knowledgeable? Was the report comprehensive and relatively easy to understand?  Keep in mind, you will be given the contact information of their most satisfied customers so it is helpful to get multiple references.

6. Verify that you can accompany the inspector.

Going through the inspection will allow you to gain valuable insight into the state of your new home.  The home inspector can explain the different things he or she is looking for and will allow you to take notes of any areas that may give you trouble in the future – even if it isn’t an issue at the time of the inspection.

7. Request a sample inspection report.

Inspection reports come in many different formats, from walls of text to colorful reports with photographs.  Ask to see a sample report to see if the format works for you.  Sometimes it is easier to discern problems with pictures accompanied by a description to see what the inspector is referencing.

It is also important to choose an inspector who can deliver a completed report with plenty of time to review – most inspectors will have the report ready within 24 hours of the inspection.

8. Compare the cost of hiring different companies.

When shopping around for home inspection companies, make sure you have a detailed description of what each company does during the inspection in order to make a fair comparison.

On average, a general home inspection can cost between $400 to $800 depending on where you live.  You should expect to may more if you are testing radon, mold, lead and water.

9. What’s the inspectors background?

You want to work with an inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of your home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements.  If you are looking to buy a specialty home, such as an historic home, try to find an inspector with some experience in the type of home you are buying.  The issues with the construction of older home and newer home differ greatly so it will be helpful having an inspector familiar with each type of home.

10.Does the inspector belong to any professional home inspector associations?

Membership in appropriate associations, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) ensures that inspectors have passed competency examinations, adhere to recognized standards of practice, operate under a strict code of ethics, and maintain continuing education in their field.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or building your dream home, we’ll help you through the entire home buying experience.  Contact your local HUFF agent today or visit HUFF.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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