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 buy.
On the other hand, some excellent home inspectors do not have great delivery when it comes to pointing out issues. Having been in business for thirty years, I have found that the way problems are communicated can have a dramatic effect on a buyer.
Some of the worst home inspectors while thorough, use scare tactics to make problems sound way worse than they are! Why do they do this? If you don’t buy the home, you’re more than likely going to call them on the next house. Real Estate agents like to call this a two for one. This is the mark of an unprofessional inspector. Yes, there are bad home inspectors just like there are bad real estate agents!
Home Inspection Tips for Buyers That Sellers Can Learn From
Now’s your chance to get specialty inspections, too.
Although home inspectors are trained and certified to assess several parts of a home, they also can specialize in what are called “ancillary inspections,” or more detailed reviews focusing on individual components.
Request documentation to prove completed repairs.
While not essential, this can help verify any amenities the seller’s advertising, such as a new roof. “If the receipts are out, I’ll look at them,” Lesh said. “I think it’s a good thing for a seller to do if they actually did have work done.”
Know when to ask for a repair, take a credit, or leave it be.
The home inspection can trigger some delicate negotiations over a property’s flaws. For each, a buyer can request that the seller hire a contractor to fix it, obtain a credit (a reduction in the purchase price) toward fixing it themselves, or let it be. Sellers can opt for either or simply reject both and negotiate from there, although that puts the transaction at risk of the buyer walking away.
Be prepared to attend the inspection and ask lots of questions.
When buyers pay for the home inspection, it’s fairly standard for them to watch the inspector at work. “The first thing I always do is I ask what their concerns are. Maybe they had an issue with a previous house, so they’re sensitive to that,” Lesh said.
Temper your expectations for a perfect inspection.
Although a home inspection report is detailed, it doesn’t cover every nook, creak, and cranny.
TIPS FOR BUYERS TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL HOME INSPECTION
Using the Report
After the inspector has gone through the entire property and provided the report, take time to review it carefully and ask any questions to either your agent or the inspector so you fully understand what you’re reading. As you read the report, it’s important to remember the inspector is acting as a primary care physician, and should anything need further evaluation you’ll be referred to a specialist. If the home inspector finds evidence of mold or a pest problem, for example, they’ll recommend to you talk to a mold abatement specialist or exterminator to discuss the work needed to alleviate the problem.
Whether this is your first home or 10th, each house offers its own quirks and there’s no owner’s manual provided. It’s highly recommended you attend the inspection, as the inspector will provide useful information throughout the process of not only the pros and cons of the property, but show you how everything works as well. An inspector will give you a plethora of information, from which way to point your air filter to where the main water shutoff valve is and how old all your major systems are. While the age and condition of many systems and appliances will be noted in the report, an explanation of how to use everything isn’t standard in written form. Bring a notepad and jot down useful information throughout the process.
Choosing Your Inspector
Every individual involved in the home buying process must be top-notch. This is likely the biggest investment of your life and understanding what you are getting yourself into is of the utmost importance. With this in mind, be sure you choose a tried and true inspector you can trust to overlook nothing and provide your report in a timely, organized manner.
Choosing the Right Type
When you sit down with your real estate agent to prepare your offer, he or she will go over the different types of inspections you can choose from. While there are different inspection options – radon, pest and mold, among others – you first want to steal with a standard home inspection.
Choosing a qualified inspector is an important step for new homeowners – but it’s not as easy as you may think
Go by referrals
There is no national accreditation or licensing for home inspectors, so relying on rave reviews from people you trust is your best bet. Poll your real estate agent, friends, family and social networks for recommendations, and check out websites like homestars.com, which provides user reviews of home service providers in your area.
Ask for an interview
When it comes to hiring a home inspector, personality counts. A patient and experienced professional can help you make an informed decision about buying your future home, so it’s important to find someone you click with. “A lot of people don’t really interview us first, but it’s a good idea,” Meandro says. Spend a few minutes chatting with an inspector over the phone to decide whether you’ll be able to rely on that person to walk you through the pros and cons of a property.
Inquire about insurance
Look to hire a home inspector who carries errors and omissions insurance. This insurance isn’t mandatory for home inspectors in most provinces, and some qualified professionals may not carry it, but Meandro says those that do may be more seasoned experts. “Home inspection insurance is difficult to get unless you have experience in that field.”
Tag along for the inspection
It’s a major red flag if a home inspector doesn’t invite you to observe the process. “Some inspectors will say, ‘Go sit in the kitchen and I’ll come talk to you at the end of the inspection,’ but that’s not acceptable,” Meandro says. “Educating people about their new house is a major part of what we do.” Insist that you join the inspection and ask lots of questions about potential problems and what it would take to fix them.
Go with a pro
Got a brother-in-law who’s a contractor? He’ll probably do a stellar job on your renovations but he might not be the right person to hire for your home inspection. “A home inspector has to have basic knowledge of virtually everything related to a home,” Meandro says. “A contractor might not have the right equipment to look for moisture or test the electrical.” Make sure you hire an inspector with several years of experience under their tool belt.
Increase Your Professionalism From the Moment You Arrive at a Home Inspection
To begin an inspection, it’s absolutely critical that you arrive on time. As a matter of fact, I like to arrive about 15 minutes early. Why? I want to show the customer that I value their time. That means if they’re waiting for me, I’m going to be concerned about how they’re going to begin to feel about me. So, I’m here early. The second thing that’s really critical about a home inspection: to look professional is to bring equipment that’s clean. Don’t bring a ladder that you’ve been painting your bedroom with last night. Bring a clean ladder. Bring clean drop cloths. Bring clean booties. Keep in mind that these people haven’t bought the house yet, but they’re most likely going to. You want to show respect to their new home. You don’t want to be walking around their carpet, leaving things behind.
Make sure, again, that as you come up to the door and knock on the door, give people time to come to the door. You’d be amazed. They could be in all other parts of the house, and it’s going to take them a while to get there. What you don’t want to do is to come in and surprise somebody. Boy, that’s embarrassing. It can be, again, very, very bad for the customer relationship issue. What I like to do when I get here early is I begin to prepare my report. I begin to fill out things that are kind of general comments, the style of the home, the type of the shingles, and things like that prior to the customer getting here. The other thing that I would encourage you to do as we go throughout the house for the entire inspection is: digital photography is really in the marketplace now. It gives you a little bit of an edge, being able to explain to people what you’re looking at, what you’re seeing, and what’s good and what’s bad.
Remember that you can overuse digital photography. So, don’t make it a showmanship attitude. Make it a, “I need to show somebody something.” Communication is the number one key to the success of a home inspection. If I can both in writing and verbally explain myself well to my customers, I just won the battle, and I haven’t even started the inspection yet. The more you can prepare before the customer comes here, the less you’re going to be inconveniencing them. That’s just good business, and I encourage you to do that. I would also encourage you to, one more time, just check their name so that when you do get out and greet them, and they should be here in a few moments, you’ll be able to call them by their first name. Boy, that’s just great marketing.