How to Select a Home Inspector
Choosing a home inspector is part of the
home buying process, a decision that can have a significant impact on your
satisfaction with your future home. The home inspector is responsible for
telling you the things you need to know about the home you are interested in.
His or her ability to spot potential issues is vital for you to make an
informed purchase, one you will be happy with over the long-term. Knowing how
to select a home inspector becomes paramount, especially for first-time buyers.
You only need to do a quick search for home
inspectors in your area to find numerous options, but as with so many
professions, some inspectors are better than others. The following tips will
help you find a home inspector that you can be happy with, someone you can
trust to provide you with all the relevant facts about the home you want to
Get a reference from your real estate
One of the best resources for picking a
home inspector should be your Realtor. Do you know your real estate agent well
and trust them? Do you feel they have your best interests at heart and are not
more concerned about their pocket book? If you can confidently answer these two
questions in the affirmative, then there is no reason not to trust your Realtors
advice on who to select as a home inspector.
Look for a company that is bonded and
Whether you go with a big company or a
single inspector working on his or her own, you want to make sure that whoever
examines the home is bonded and insured. Finding out about insurance is one of
the most important questions to ask when interviewing a home inspection.
Verify that the inspection company only
does inspections – not home repairs and renovations.
Hiring someone that just does inspections
is an important tip for finding the right home inspector! Home inspection
companies that sell other services – such as roofing, plumbing, kitchen and
bathroom renovations, etc. – have a conflict of interest. The fact that they
sell repair and renovation services means they are more likely to see problems
where there aren’t any.
How to Choose a Home Inspection Company
When a house is bought or sold, a home
inspection is a necessary procedure that alerts both homeowners and buyers to
the condition of the property in question. If you are selling a home, it is
important to have an inspection conducted so that you will be aware of any
potential issues with the home you are selling. If you are buying a home, you
should have a separate inspection conducted to be sure there are no hidden
issues, and to negotiate the contract with potential repairs or problems in
Be prepared for the cost. The average fee
for a home inspection is between $350-$500, but the information received from
an inspector is priceless. It could be the turning point between a sale and a
buyer going back to searching for the perfect home.
Understand the actual inspection. Home
inspectors enter a home and analyze all of the major components that make up a
house purchase. Home inspection companies document the safety and overall
condition of a home at the time of the inspection. Home inspections usually
take about 3 hours for a minimal inspection, and 5 or 6 hours in order to
arrive at a thorough, proper assessment. Depending on how old or large a house
is, it may take longer or less time to complete.
Know what will be inspected. A home
inspector must thoroughly conduct a review of the inner and outer areas of a
Be prepared for bad news. It is a home
inspector’s job to find any existing or potential problems with a house. They
can lose their license if they fail to report issues, so although it might feel
like they’re purposely giving bad news, be thankful for the information.
Finding the Right Home Inspector
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 buy the home. You could also find
issues that make you decide not to buy. If you’re a seller, an inspection can
help you find problems before you put the house on the market, letting you make
the repairs without wrangling over the cost with a potential buyer. Learn why
you should get an inspection before selling your home.
What to expect on inspection day
On the day of the inspection, the inspector
performs an initial site evaluation. Then the inspector takes you on a tour to
point out the assets as well as any potential problems. Pay attention, watch,
ask questions and learn. A thorough inspection can find problems related to
water entry, roof leaks, insect infestation, unsafe wiring, failed septic
systems, poor plumbing, wet basements, mold and mildew, and safety hazards
At the end of the inspection, you receive a
written report detailing all the findings. The report should contain
photographs and descriptions of any damage or defects found during the
inspection as well as details on the location of damage. Pictures help you
understand the scope and location of the damage, and visual proof makes it
easier to get repair estimates
So how can an inspector have expertise in
so many different things? The simple answer is: Some don’t. That’s why it’s
important to check an inspector’s background and references. Most home
inspections are thorough, but even the best inspectors might not catch
everything. “The condition of the home is the ‘snapshot’ of that
day,” says John Palczuk of Carolina Inspections. “The home inspector
is not going to find every possible thing wrong or that could go wrong. That’s
an unrealistic expectation.”
Here’s how to find the right home
Look for an inspector before you shop for a
home. If you choose a home first, time is critical and you may feel pressured
to pick the first inspector you meet.
How to Choose a Home Inspector
Would you call a retail store and ask “How
much do you charge for a TV?” Probably not. You’d have to do research and
decide what you want to buy before asking for prices. One of the toughest calls
that I get as a home inspector is “What do you charge for a home inspection?”
Home buyers often ask me this because
they’re trying to find the inspector that offers the best deal. When buyers are
only concerned with the price of a home inspection, they have already made an
assumption that all home inspectors offer the same thing, and they assume
they’re comparing apples to apples. This just isn’t true.
Here are a few key things to research
before deciding on a home inspector, and to help make sure you’re making a fair
comparison when it comes down to price. This is all information that home
inspectors typically list on their web site (yes, I’m assuming they have a web
When reviewing a sample report, there is
much more to look for than just photos and illustrations. Watch out for useless
report writing that is designed to cover the home inspector’s butt, not yours.
A bad report would contain a lot of phrases like “This was observed, recommend
further evaluation and correction by a licensed blah blah blah”. With this type of writing, you could easily
have an inspection report that recommends a dozen additional inspections. If further inspections are needed, that’s
fine, but these recommendations should never be made lightly, because
additional inspections require more time and money.
When I first started inspecting, I was told
by a home inspection instructor that this was the best way to write a report.
As I’ve written more and more reports over the years, I’ve come to realize that
home inspection schools teach this style only to protect the inspector. This
doesn’t provide a service for the client.
A good home inspection report will clearly state the problem, explain
the significance of the problem if it’s not obvious, and will give a
recommended course of action.
Why You Need to Know How to Find &
Choose a Home Inspector
Choose carefully. The right home inspector
can save you from buying a money pit. And that’s just one reason you need to
know how to choose a home inspector. Find out more below.
Of all the various professionals involved
in the homebuying process, probably the most underrated is the home inspector.
As the buyer of a home filled with unknowns, a qualified home inspector can be
your best friend. He or she can highlight any significant flaws in the property
and give you an opportunity to have them repaired before closing.
What Exactly Does a Home Inspector Do?
A home inspector’s job is to determine the
integrity of a home, and its various components. In inspecting a home, they’re
looking to determine its safety, livability, and the utility of its systems. A
qualified home inspector will do a thorough inspection of the home
Why You Shouldn’t Take the First Referral
or One Referred by Your Realtor
If you’re working with a real estate agent,
he or she will be anxious to provide a home inspector. There’s a reason why
this is true; some real estate agents prefer home inspectors who don’t make a
habit of reporting conditions that will “kill” their deal. That kind of
inspector will be good for the real estate agent, but not for you as the
Credentials You Should Look For
Unfortunately, home inspection is something
of an open field. People from different backgrounds consider themselves to be
home inspectors. It could be a carpenter, a former real estate agent, or even
an appraiser who does home inspection on the side. None of these backgrounds
indicate the person is qualified as a full-service home inspector.