Spending money on a home inspection helps you avoid purchasing a house that comes with costly, unexpected repairs. Consider these tips for how to find a good home inspector.
Check for credentials
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Institute of Building Inspectors certifies its members, which increases the likelihood that you’ll get a good inspection. Members of ASHI have completed at least 250 inspections and passed two written exams. They are required to follow certain rules of conduct, get continuing education credits and adhere to a code of ethics.
Specialty in residential real estate
A background in construction or engineering inspection is helpful, but such experience doesn’t always translate to residential. You want an inspector who knows the home environment well.
Ask how long the inspection will take
Be wary of anything less than two hours for a home inspection because this indicates that the review of your house will not be thorough. If the home is large, the allotted time should be more like three hours. Of course, expect a shorter time frame if two inspectors perform the inspection or the house is small. The age of the home will also be a factor.
Ensure that you can attend
A legitimate inspector will encourage you to attend the inspection. Doing so gives you a good overview of the house, in particular those areas that require maintenance. The inspector may also point out areas that may not be a cause for concern now, but could be in the future.
Check online reviews and ask for references
When checking on the experience others have had with the inspector, inquire about his or her track record in terms of finding areas in the home in need of repair. Be wary of an inspector whom homeowners said missed costly problems.
Examine a sample report
See that the inspector’s reports contain all of the pertinent information and make sure that you understand it. General areas of the house that should be inspected include structural elements such as the walls, roof, foundation and floor; exterior elements such as driveways, sidewalks, drainage, chimneys, fences and lighting; and the attic, basement, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and all appliances.
Ask if the inspector has insurance
A professional inspector should carry errors and omissions insurance, which protects you and the inspector if a serious defect is missed.
Inquire about a guarantee
An inspector should stand behind the work and offer a written agreement that holds him or her responsible to reimburse you for eligible repairs that arise during a specified warranty period.
Finding a good home inspector to give you an accurate snapshot of the health of the house you intend to buy will make home ownership a more enjoyable experience.