6 Tips for Choosing a Home Inspector
Buying a house is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. You are finally fulfilling your dreams of becoming a homeowner. But considering the amount of money you’ll be spending on that property, you want to make sure that you do it right.
Most homebuyers make the mistake of falling head over heels on a particular property. Let’s face it. It can be difficult to resist the charm of an older house. With decades of history and unique character, a lot of buyers get smitten when they first encounter an old house. When buying a house, however, you shouldn’t just focus on the aesthetic appeal. You want to make sure that it’s in pristine condition as well. This is where a home inspection comes in handy.
A home inspection will help you learn as much as you can about the house you are interested in. It can be used as a tool for future planning. It can pinpoint problems, major defects, potential threats, and safety concerns present in the house, and even give you an idea about the life expectancy of the appliances, roof, furnace, and other systems. By knowing about the current condition of the property, you can plan ahead and make an informed decision. Playing such an important role in the home buying process, it is important that you hire a reputable home inspector.
Keep these tips in mind when hiring a home inspector.
Ask for referral
Buying a house isn’t something we do very often. Most people would only do it once or twice in their lifetime. That said, many of you may not have an idea where to find a home inspector. If you have family, friends or colleagues who recently bought a house, then don’t hesitate to ask them for referral.
Your real estate agent is also a great resource for referrals, especially if they have been in the business for a long time. He/she should be able to recommend a few well-qualified inspectors. Keep in mind, though, that real estate agents only work on a commission basis. They won’t get paid unless you buy the house. If you are confident that your real estate agent has your best interest at heart, then you can hire the home inspector he/she recommended. But to be on the safe side, we highly recommend that you do your research before you hire a home inspector.
Finding a reputable home inspectors require some research. There are so many home inspectors out there. Given that some states do not require licensing, anyone can just call themselves a home inspector. The last thing you want is to hire someone who is inexperienced and doesn’t know what he’s doing.
In the process of hiring a home inspector, it is best to narrow down your list to 3-5 inspectors, and speak to them one by one. You may want to ask about their qualifications and certifications. Although not all states require licensing, we recommend that you ask about their background and experience. How long has he been in the business? Also, be sure to hire someone who has undergone extensive training. Remember, it takes training and years of experience to develop the necessary skill and insights to be a legitimate home inspector.
If you are planning to buy an old house, it is best to hire an inspector with a background in inspecting similar houses. Older homes usually present problems and issues that are uncommon in newer houses.
Reputable home inspectors are typically members of InterNACHI and ASHI. InterNACHI stands for International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Meanwhile, ASHI stands for American Society of Home Inspectors.
When you choose to work with an InterNACHI and ASHI-certified home inspector, you can be sure that you’re working with a professional inspector, who has completed technical examinations, numerous inspection courses, and adhered to recognized standards of practice. Being a member of these organizations doesn’t necessarily mean that he/she is an expert, but you can be sure that you are dealing with a qualified and experienced inspector.
Ask for sample home inspection report
After the home inspection, you will receive a copy of the home inspection report. The report contains the details and findings of the inspection process. Most inspectors will have the report ready within 24 hours of inspection.
Home inspection reports come in different formats. Some come in narrative format, while others use a checklist-style report. Others even include photographs. Before you hire an inspector, we recommend that you obtain a sample of the home inspection report. This way, you can see whether the format works for you.
Carefully read through the inspection report. Is it comprehensive and easy to understand? A good report should be clearly written, identify the issues and what should be done to fix them. If they have included some photos, even better. It will be easier for you to discern described on the report if they are accompanied with photos.
Ask to attend the home inspection
The home inspection is your chance to learn more about the property you are interested in. While the home inspection report will point out the flaws and issues present in the house, it doesn’t compare to the experience of going through the house. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand the extent of the problem unless you have seen it in person.
We know that you have a hectic schedule, but we encourage you to carve out time out of your busy day to attend the home inspection. It will only take 2 to 3 hours of your time, but it will be worth it in the end. So go ahead and ask the inspector if you can take part of the process. If he says no, then that would be a major red flag. Do not hire that inspector.
A good inspector will allow you to tag along and even talk about any possible repairs that may be needed. Some would even give you estimates for repairs, so you’ll have an idea how much you’ll need to spend to make the house more liveable.
Buying a house can cost a small fortune. Aside from the down payment, there are also some added fees associated with home buying. Appraisal fee, taxes, closing fee, home inspection fee, moving costs, repair are just some of them. These fees can easily add up to several thousands of dollars.
Often, buyers are looking for ways to save money. Unfortunately, many of them would scrimp on home inspection. They would settle for the ones the lowest rate or skip it altogether. Considering how important the home inspection is in the buying process, you wouldn’t want to scrimp on the home inspection.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money and find a good deal. In fact, we recommend that you talk to 3-5 inspectors and compare costs. But if you are looking for a qualified home inspector, the rate should be the last thing to consider. Find a good inspector by using the tips above. He/she should be certified, have undergone extensive training, has years of experience, as well as detailed and thorough home inspection report. If the rate is amenable to you, then you may have found a good deal.