Hiring a Qualified Home Inspector – Tips from Pat

Ask for opinions

Talk to friends who have had an inspection recently. Did their inspector do a thorough job? You can ask the inspector for references, too, but keep in mind they probably won’t give you the names of unhappy clients.

If you are working with a real estate agent you trust, ask who they recommend.  Agents deal with inspections often; they know who the good inspectors are. The agent should give you at least three references and not steer you to one inspector.

What does the inspection cover?

What systems are covered in the home inspection?

Are there some services that require an extra fee, such as a septic inspection?

A septic report is required for FHA and VA financing. Doing it at the same time as the home inspection is usually less expensive than bringing the inspector back again later.

Will you be given a detailed report with photos of problem areas? It should include a checklist showing results for all systems evaluated. It should also include reports in paragraph form. Inspections can take 3-4 hours or more.

Inspect the inspector

If statements in the appraisal or pest report cause the lender to ask for a structural inspection, they will expect that the inspection be done by a licensed professional.

Before you select an inspector, find out what type of licensing the lender requires if a structural inspection is necessary. If your inspector qualifies, it may save you time and money since you won’t have to hire a second person to verify the structural integrity.

Important questions

  • Where was the inspector trained?
  • Does he or she attend continuing education classes?
  • Does the inspector belong to a professional organization?  If so, what are the requirements for membership?
  • Does the inspector carry Errors and Omissions insurance?  This type of insurance may come in handy if the inspector overlooks a major problem.

On inspection day

It’s best if you attend the inspection yourself.  Inspectors should report all defects that are found, no matter how minor.  Home buyers sometimes get excited about minor problems simply because they don’t have an understanding of what’s really wrong. Witnessing problems, first-hand, will give you a better grasp of what is and what is not an issue.

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