When it comes to buying a home, we know how stressful it can be. One thing that can prevent a lot of headaches for both the buyer and seller is a professional home inspection. By hiring a home inspector, you will uncover issues that you probably never have noticed. Whether you’re a seller trying to repair any problems before your house goes on the market, or if you’re a buyer and want to uncover any potential issues before signing the paperwork – a home inspection can help to alleviate some of the homebuying stress. In this week’s blog, we will discuss tips and tricks for choosing a home inspector.

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What do Home Inspectors Look For?

When conducting a home inspection, the inspector will typically evaluate all major mechanical systems within the home, examine the structural integrity of the home, look for any cosmetic defects as well as other aspects of the home. This could include:

  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Appliances
  • Examination of attic and roof
  • Foundation
  • Chimney
  • Insect damage

The right home inspector will look for all of these things and more while conducting their inspection. The task typically takes between two to four hours depending on the size of your home and the complexity of the job.

How to Find the Right Home Inspector

Choosing the right home inspector requires research on your part. We suggest that you look for a home inspector before shopping for a home. If you find your dream home but don’t have an inspector, you may feel pressured to pick the first inspector you come across. Not all home inspectors offer the same thing which is why we propose you do a deep evaluation of a few in your area. Here are our tips for choosing a reliable home inspector:

Ask your real estate agent for a reference

One of the best resources for picking out a home inspector is your realtor. If you have a good relationship with your realtor and believe that they have your best interests at heart, then reach out to them for a list of home inspectors. After all, they have probably encountered their fair share of home inspectors and can point you in the right direction. They will probably give you a few that you can research and pick based on your personal research.

Only inspection services

Usually finding a company that does it all is beneficial, but not with home inspections. Hire someone that just does home inspections to avoid conflict of interest. If the home inspection company also sells services such as roofing, plumbing, and home renovations then they are more likely to see problems where there aren’t any. You want your home inspector to be objective and not a salesperson for the renovation side of their business. While some companies may separate the two and claim to have no bias, there is no way to tell for sure.

Find out what the inspection includes

The best home inspections are thorough and look for every detail. We already outlined some of the components that home inspectors should look for during their visit, but not all of them do. To ensure that you’re receiving a thorough and professional inspection, ask beforehand what they look for during their visit. This will also allow you to take note and compare services for home inspectors in your area.

Ask what you get for the price

The price of the home inspection can vary depending on the location, size, inspector’s experience, and the scope of the project. Some inspectors may use drones to look at your roof or place infrared cameras to look for moisture; while some inspectors may consider this a free add-on service, others may charge for it. There are also specialized tests that you may have to pay extra for that aren’t covered by the initial inspection such as radon, termites, or mold.

Home InspectorHome Inspectors provide information to make an informed decision in a real estate transaction. 

Verify that you can accompany the inspector

You are not required to accompany the inspector throughout the visit but it may be beneficial if you do. Home inspectors are looking for specific issues and can give you valuable information on the state of the home. The inspection can give you a chance to see where everything is located throughout the home as well as allow you to take note of any potential problem areas. While the inspector’s main function is to identify any significant structural or mechanical defects, they can also be a source of information on how to care for your potential new home. If you don’t accompany the inspector throughout the visit, you may be missing out on key information.

Request a sample report

Before you have your inspection, it might be helpful to see what a report looks like so that you can understand what they’re looking for. Different home inspectors also have different formats for their reports as well. By looking at their sample report, you can see if they’re detailed, thorough and provide substantial descriptions about each area. Some inspectors even use photos to show exactly what the issue is. Photos can lead to better communication down the road as you try to get the issue resolved.

Make sure they have experience with your type of home

When it comes to hiring the right home inspector, try to find one with experience in the type of home you’re buying. Historic and specialty homes may vary depending on where you are located and they may have common issues that experienced inspectors know to look for. Newly constructed homes are also built with new materials and techniques that some inspectors may not be aware of, so it is helpful to have an inspector familiar with the construction of newer homes.

Consider training and experience

Look for a home inspector that has been in the business for a while as they have seen their fair share of home types and issues. You can also ask if they have any certifications from home inspection professional organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). When you choose a certified inspector, you’ll be working with someone who has passed technical examinations, courses and has to follow a strict code of ethics. Home inspectors with additional licensing and certifications come with more knowledge and experience.

The process of choosing the right home inspector seems daunting but in reality, it can save you time, money, and effort to do it right the first time. Buying a home is a huge commitment and to ensure that it all goes smoothly, a home inspection is in order. We recommend performing a home inspection before purchasing any home. We hope that these tips for choosing a detailed, professional, and reliable home inspector will alleviate the stress and headaches that come with home buying.