Secrets On Finding A Great Home Inspector

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, it’s a good idea to find a home inspector to do a pre-listing home inspection. Once you’ve made that decision, you need to find a good home inspector to help you out. It’s not enough just to find a “good” home inspector, you need to find one that is great. Here are a few suggestions to help you out.

First, finding a great home inspector is similar to finding other reputable real estate professionals. Ask for a referral from your real estate agent and friends. Ask them who they would recommend. Ask friends, relatives, or colleagues who they have used in the past and if they had a good experience.

Next, check out the inspectors that you find online. You can start with the American Society of Home Inspectors (ashi.org). This is a non-profit group that screens home inspectors. To join, an inspector has to pass 2 home inspection exams and would have to have completed at least 50 home inspections. ASHI’s website allows you to enter your zip code to find a qualified inspector in your area.

Make a list of qualified inspectors in your area and the next thing to do is to call them. Call each one of the inspectors to find out how they conduct their inspections, what’s covered, how much they charge, and how long the inspection will take. These things are important.

A thorough inspection of a moderately sized property should take at least two hours. The inspection of the house should cover the complete interior of the house from basement to attic and include the exterior of the house. You want to make sure that you accompany the inspector during this inspection.

Check the credentials of your inspector. Make sure that they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Ask if they are a member of a professional group such as ASHI and ask them how much experience they actually have. Make sure that they are in compliance with all state laws, regulations, and procedures.

Pay attention to the inspector’s phone manner. Is he good on the phone? Is he courteous on the phone or does it seem like he is eager to get you off the phone? If he is rushing you, beware! He might just rush through your inspection.

Also, ask them about their home inspection reports. What kind of report is the inspector going to provide you at the end of the inspection? Does this report include photographs of potential problems? It should!

Last of all, ask the home inspector for at least three references and make sure you call these references. You want to make sure that others have had a good experience. Ask these references if they would use that home inspector again in the future.

Finding a good home inspector is important when you are getting ready to sell your home. But, it’s not that much harder to find a really great one. I hope these tips will help you find a great home inspector and good luck on selling your home!

How to Hire the Right Home Inspector

25 years ago, a home inspection was a rare thing, and professional home inspectors were few and far between. Now, nearly every buyer knows that they should get an inspection, and there is a seemingly endless supply of inspectors, all claiming some ‘certification’ or credentials that sound impressive. But how do you know which is the right inspector for you?

Well, here are a few simple thoughts from someone inside the business (some of which, many inspectors will be upset with me for revealing, and will hope you won’t read them). Interview them personally. Don’t just take someone’s advice that “this guy is good.” Talk to them.

  • Ask them about what they do (and don’t do – many don’t walk roofs, some don’t give repair cost estimates).
  • Ask them about their reports (simple checklist, or descriptive narrative?)
  • Do they provide repair cost estimates?
  • Are they licensed (if necessary in your sate)?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their background and/or training?
  • Are they members of the BBB or Angie’s List or other consumer oriented groups?
  • Most importantly, do they treat you with respect and listen to what your needs are?

You will quickly find that there is a world of difference in Inspectors and how they view YOU, the client, as part of the inspection. Some see you as a necessary evil, or an interruption of “their” inspection. You will know you have hired one of these inspectors if they hand you a measuring tape to keep you busy measuring rooms while they inspect.

Often on inspector chat boards they talk about “controlling” their inspection, as if the client is a bother. Never forget: The inspection is (and SHOULD be) all about YOUR education, and making YOU comfortable with your new home.

E & O Insurance.

Ask your inspector if they are insured. Many inspectors treat this question as if you have just asked them for their Debit Card and PIN, but it is a legitimate and VERY intelligent question for clients to ask. You wouldn’t let an uninsured plumber work on your pipes, would you? So why allow an uninsured inspector advise you on the entire home and all of its systems and components? E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance is your protection that if the inspector misses something significant, that you won’t be left paying for that mistake.

Experience.

My dad always said: “There is no substitute in life for experience.” (He also said, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”) This is also true when it comes to inspectors. While some may have read it in the best books available, you simply have to learn some things by doing them. (Like, for example, never test the door to a room by closing it from the inside of the room. The reason why will be instantly clear when the knob falls off in your hand and you are stuck on the interior.)

You will know just by talking to an inspector and asking them the questions listed above whether you are talking to a raw “newbie” or a seasoned pro. Some pride themselves on “writing up” lots of defects, but often, many of these items are actually quite common and relatively minor (the kinds of things most sellers won’t address or compensate for). Some inspectors also pride themselves on being disliked by Realtors. This simply mystifies me since most Realtors I know honestly care about putting their client in a good home, and respect the opinion of the inspector. Most times, this indicates to me an inspector who is a little full of himself, and may be out to prove how much he knows, or wants to make a major deal out of a minor issue.

Certifications are a dime a dozen in the inspection industry. Every day, my email inbox is jammed with people selling more quick and easy “certifications” of this and that. In fact, one place will certify you (yes, you) as a “master” inspector if you take several free online courses and send them a check for $375 – without ever performing a single inspection! As you can see, certifications are highly suspect. Professionally, the ones that are truly significant are offered by the International Code Council (ICC) and certify that the inspector has a detailed understanding of current building code (particularly helpful if you are purchasing new construction).

In general, I would recommend an inspector who has performed at least 1,000 inspections, and has at least 3 years experience – but even among these, you must ask the other questions to get the best fit for your needs.

Choices.

Does the inspector offer choices to accommodate you? All buyers are not the same. All homes are not the same. So why do most inspectors offer the same inspection to all clients? Ask if they offer choices in prices, level of detail, and services offered. An investor seeking an opinion on the basic components (structure, roof, electrical, plumbing, HVAC) of a home they intend to renovate may not need the meticulous detail required by a nervous First Time Buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you really need, even if it seems to be more (or less) than what the inspector typically offers. If the inspector you speak to can’t offer the service you need, keep searching, you will find one that does.

Price.

Which brings us to the last point, and the first question most people ask: “How much does an inspection cost?” The answer is – it depends (mostly on your area of the country, and the size of your home). Most inspectors base the price on square feet (the larger the home, the longer it takes to inspect). Be cautious of those who use price or zip code as a determining factor (buying a more expensive home in a more affluent neighborhood can dramatically increase your price with these inspectors who believe you must have more money to spend). Shop prices around. You CAN and WILL find a reasonably priced inspector who is every bit as good or better than the highest priced inspectors.

A good clue is: If someone doesn’t post their prices on their website, they are higher than is typical. Again, many inspectors will react rudely with some variation of “you get what you pay for.” Ask that inspector if they buy Premium Unleaded at the most expensive gas station in town, and then look through the grocery store circulars to find the highest priced items available – after all, they must be the best if they are the most expensive!

Why Is It Necessary To Hire Your Own Independent Home Inspector?

It is a positive and a much needed change that home buyers are hiring their own home inspectors now, rather than hiring an inspector as recommended by their agent. Many of these home buyers specifically decline the home inspector just because their agent recommended him. However, there are still people who hire inspectors as recommended by their agent. This change has occurred because many of the buyers have come to understand that the inspector may not work in their best interest if he is suggested by the realtor or agent.

To understand the importance of home inspection and hiring an independent home inspector, you need to understand the following questions:

Why home inspection is necessary?

One of the most important decisions that you will make in your life involves buying a home. As a matter of fact consider yourself privileged if you get an opportunity to buy a home even once in your lifetime. When this decision is so important, it is advisable that you buy a home for the worth of the amount you are ready to spend on it. This can be done by making sure that the home you are about to buy is in good condition. For this you need a home inspection, which is a process where a thorough evaluation of the home in question is done by a professional expert. The inspector will perform the following tasks while he undertakes an in-depth and impartial study of the home:

  • Check the foundation, physical structure, mechanical systems, heating and cooling systems, electrical connections and equipments, etc.
  • Will evaluate which items need repairs or replacements.
  • He will also give you an estimate of remaining useful life of major parts of the house including the roof.

You can accompany your home inspector while he goes for home inspection, so that you can ask him questions at the time of actual inspection taking place. Once the inspection is over and the inspector has taken notes of everything, you can expect to have a detailed report of the inspection within 24 hours. Remember this is a confidential document and the inspector is not allowed to show this report to anyone else except you, not even the agent.

Why hire an independent home inspector?

If you hire an inspector recommended by your agent, there are chances that the inspector will make a report that will not be totally honest. He may rush through the inspection and report generation to expedite the process; he may not mention certain facts which could lead to cancellation of the deal. This is not true for every inspector, but there is definitely some kind of pressure on an inspector if he is recommended by an agent.

If you really want an unbiased and authentic home inspection report, which is prepared for your interest only then it is better to hire your own independent inspector. You can find such inspectors by searching for them online, many home inspectors are canvassing themselves on internet these days.

5 Ways a Home Inspector Can Continue Their Education

It is important for a home inspector to continue their education so that they can become the best inspector possible. Below are five ways home inspectors can continue their education to improve themselves and their companies.

Attend Conferences and Seminars

Attending conferences and seminars is a great way for a home inspector to increase their knowledge about the home inspection industry. Speakers will cover a variety of topics that allow the home inspector to learn the latest news and techniques in home inspection. This will allow them to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for anything they may see on an inspection. Conferences also give inspectors the opportunity to visit with different product vendors related to home inspections. Here, they can learn about the latest technology, advancements in home inspection software, and what’s new in the industry.

Connect/Network with other Home Inspectors

A great way to connect and network with industry contacts is to join an association. There are many benefits to joining an association, including educational resources, monthly news, online forums, discounts, and much more. Online forums allow home inspectors to bounce ideas and questions off of each other, making it a great place to learn. Inspectors can also connect and network at conferences, seminars, and association meetings.

Attend Classes/Training Related to Home Inspections

To continue their education, a home inspector should consider attending additional classes and training. There are several training courses available for new and veteran inspectors. These continuing education courses include marketing and business courses, such as online advertising, selling, and client relationship building. Learning these aspects of the business is critical for making their company a success. Technical classes are also offered, such as what to look for when inspecting roofs, electrical components, and plumbing. These types of classes help an inspector avoid potential issues and cover themselves from liability. For an inspector who is looking to diversify themselves, there are also specialty courses available. Some of these courses include mold, radon, and termite testing, among others. Attending continuing education classes is a great way to stay educated, as well as, give the inspector the ability to offer additional services to their client.

Take Additional Courses, Not Necessarily Related to Home Inspections

Classes that do not directly relate to home inspections are often overlooked by inspectors. Some of these courses include report writing, communication skills, business practices, and legal issues. Inspectors who decide to continue their education with classes like these can really separate themselves from other inspectors who lack this kind of training and knowledge. Even though these types of classes aren’t directly related to home inspections, they can help a home inspector improve the quality of their service.

Job Shadowing

New and veteran inspectors can both benefit from shadowing another professional while on a job. New inspectors can gain a great deal of knowledge and useful information by shadowing veteran inspectors. If they can find someone who is willing to show them the ropes, this is a great first step for inspectors looking to break into the industry. Veteran inspectors can benefit from shadowing professional contractors on repair or maintenance jobs. Gaining additional knowledge that can be used on the job will help them become a better inspector.

Continuously trying to learn and improve yourself is a must in any business. In order to run a successful home inspection business, the inspector needs to be the best inspector possible. Continuing to learn will not only benefit them and their business, it will also benefit their client.