What is a home inspection? A lot of people think that being a home inspector is easy work and easy money. I can tell you from experience it is not at all easy. It is however, very rewarding. You probably do not hear the phrase ”Home Inspector” until you are buying your first home. So, what does a home inspector do?
A home inspector is a highly trained licensed professional that goes through your soon to be home and looks for defects, safety hazards, and looks to see what needs some maintenance. The inspection is a limited visual inspection of the readily available systems of the home. They will know witch contractors to call and recommend them to get the problems fixed. They do this because the contractor will know how to take apart the system in question and how to fix it.
Home inspectors are very knowledgeable on all home systems and are there to give you a closer look into what you are purchasing. They give you the tools you need to move forward into negotiations.You can read more about home inspections and why they are important here.
Buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase you will make in awhile. You want to be sure you aren’t purchasing a money pit.
Now that you know what a home inspector does, it is time to know how to choose the right home inspector for you. Here are 5 very important questions to ask when you schedule your home inspection.
1. Home Inspectors Credentials
Make sure to know the company you are hiring. The internet is a big place and almost everyone has a website. See what they are all about.
- Are they apart of an association like ASHI, interNACHI, or FABI?
- Are the inspectors licensed and up to date on their license? Some states do not require a license. Just because a state requires a license doesn’t mean all the home inspectors in that state will be licensed or be up to date on it. Its a good idea to ask.
- How many years of experience does the inspector/s have? Compare to the other inspectors in your area. asking how long a company has been in business is different than asking the inspectors experience. You can follow that up with how many inspections they have completed. the more completed inspection the more experience they have.
- Look at their online reviews. Don’t just look at the ratings. actually read some of them the good and the bad. Also, you can learn a lot about a company from how that company replies to 1 star reviews.
2. Home Inspection Report.
The report is the product you are paying for so naturally you want to ask some questions about it.
- Report turn around.
- Maybe you are needing the report very quickly and knowing what the report turn around time can be a factor on who you choose to perform your inspection.
- Does the report have pictures?
- Only a description of the defects will not show you the whole picture. Pun Intended.
- Ask to see a sample report.
- If you want to have a better idea on how your report will look ask about a sample report to look at. make sure it has pictures and is easy to understand.
3.What Does the Inspection Report Include/Exclude?
- Do you walk the roof? If you cannot safely walk the roof what do you do?
- Do you inspect the attic?
- Will you go into the crawlspace?
- Do you inspected detached garages or buildings? ( For an additional fee most inspectors will.)
- Does the full home cover insurance inspections (east coast specific? Again for an extra fee most inspectors can add this to your full home inspection.)
- Does the inspection cover the pool?
- Do you do WDO/termite inspections or can you set one up at the same time as the home inspection?
- Does the inspection cover the sprinkler system? (For an extra fee some will inspect the irrigation systems if requested.)
Will you need to sign an agreement for the home inspection? If an inspector does not ask you to sign an agreement this can be a problem. The agreement will outline the things that are inspected and what is not inspected. It will set the expectations and help everyone evolved understand the nature of the inspection and helps avoid any misunderstandings in the future.
Make sure to read over the agreement and understand it. if you have questions about the agreement make sure to ask before signing.
5.How Long Will the Inspection Take?
This can be a tricky question but most home inspectors will have an average time frame for you. The amount of time the inspection takes can depend on the home and a few other factors. For example a home that is older, has a crawl space and attic will take longer to inspect than a newer home. Even a larger newer home will go quicker than a smaller older home.
Some companies send out more than one inspector to help the inspections go faster. So, the time it takes for an inspection doesn’t necessarily depict how thorough the inspector is.
Ask Multiple Companies.
When you are looking for a home inspection company you could go with the ones referred to you. However, call all the companies on the list. Ask them these questions and get a feel for who they are. See if they answer the phones. Don’t only shop on price. Use a number of factors to decide who to go with. Not every inspector is made the same and you can find out a lot by asking the right questions.