One of the more common contingencies to include in purchase agreement is a home inspection. This will provide you with an opportunity to have the home inspected by a professional and uncover any potential issues. That’s why it’s critical that the home inspector you employ is heavily experienced and well-trained within this realm in order to help ensure that as much can be identified it the home inspection as possible.
When choosing a home inspector, keep the following considerations in mind.
1. What Types of Qualifications Are Held?
Inspecting all components of a home requires a certain level of training and experience. Just like you would expect your doctor to hold a medical degree and your mechanic to be properly licensed, you would also want you home inspector to be equally qualified to perform this very important job.
A home is made up of many different components, many of which are hidden from plain sight. The inspector should come armed with a license and certification proving that the necessary courses have been completed that deem the inspector qualified to conduct a home inspection.
2. How Much Experience Does the Inspector Have?
Look into the depth of the inspector’s experience to see how long he or she has been in this business and to find out how many inspections have been performed. You want someone who has a long track record of successful inspections, and not someone who just started yesterday. In addition, make sure this person is specifically experienced with inspecting residential properties, as opposed to commercial or industrial buildings. There really is no substitute for lots of experience.
3. How Detailed is the Report Provided?
Your inspector should prepare a detailed written report after the inspection is complete, as opposed to a single-sheet checklist of items observed. It will usually take a couple of days for you to obtain this report, as it should be done only after the inspector has thoroughly gone over the notes and photos taken on site.
The report should ideally consist of a detailed overview of the inspection, the condition of all components observed, a list of items that require further attention, and a list of any items that require major repair or replacement. Armed with this information, you can then make an informed decision about how to proceed with the transaction.
4. What Does the Inspection Cover?
Unfortunately, an average home inspection doesn’t necessarily cover everything you might think it does. Typically, a home inspection will cover the exterior of the home (including the foundation, walls, roof, flashings, and gutters), attic, basement, insulation, electrical system, plumbing system, HVAC system, and garage.
Items that might not necessarily be covered include fireplaces, swimming pools, septic tanks, and sprinkler systems. Make sure you understand what the inspector will cover during the inspection so you know if any further action is required on your part to hire additional specialized inspectors for specific components.
5. What Type of Affiliations Does the Inspector Belong to?
Make sure that the inspector you hire belongs to professional affiliations through nationally-recognized organizations, such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). The more affiliations, the better. This type of information will tell you the depth of the background industry involvement that the inspector has before making a hiring decision.
6. What Sort of Equipment Will Be Used?
Today’s home inspectors should come armed with innovative and modern equipment to help perform a detailed, accurate inspection of your home. There are always new technologies and advancements coming about, and your inspector should be taking advantage of them.
The types of equipment that the inspector should bring to the site should obviously include things like ladders, flashlights, measuring tape, and levels. However, there are plenty of advanced testers that are now available to provide the best service possible, such as electrical circuit analyzers, carbon monoxide analyzers, digital moisture testers, and so forth.
The Bottom Line
Not all home inspectors are created equal. Make sure you’re not hiring a random contractor who lists “home inspector” on his or her business card just to generate more work. A home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process, so you want to make sure you hire the right professional so you’re not stuck with a money pit after escrow closes. Do your due diligence to hire a competent home inspector that will get the job done right.