It’s easy enough to find out when open houses are and what the latest property on the market is. You can spend half an hour in a home to know it’s the right fit for you. But what happens after you make an offer? It’s home inspection time, and the search for the right home inspector is not always as simple as it seems. Plus, you’ll need to spend a lot more than just half an hour on your search.
Read on to learn how to find a home inspector — more specifically a good and reputable home inspector — that you can trust to get the job done right.
Once you find a home you love and the seller accepts your offer, it’s important to book a professional home inspection. It’s very common to make a purchase contract contingent on the home inspection going well. This gives you the chance to back out of the sale if the inspector finds there are major repairs needed, or other issues. If you have a contingency like this in your contract, you’ll also have more negotiation power with the seller to either request they make the repairs themselves or to charge you less for the home so you can finance the repairs.
Even if you choose to accept the house as-is after the inspection, you’ll gain valuable insight into the home that makes it easier to plan any future repairs or renovations you want to make. This is why it’s helpful to attend a home inspection, where you get the chance to ask the inspector questions about the home.
A home inspector essentially inspects a home for any potential problems that the average buyer wouldn’t pick up on. It’s worth noting that most home inspections cost about $300 to $800.
Most home inspections will review the structural integrity of the home, all major mechanical systems, and any cosmetic features of the home. Your inspector should take a look at the following parts of a home:
On inspection day, the home inspector performs an initial evaluation of the home. They will point out any potential issues they find with the home for you, which is a great time for you to ask any questions you have. Once the inspection ends, the home inspector issues a written report that details all of their findings, with photographs of the issues included when necessary.
Now that it’s clear just how important a home inspection is, you want to make sure you hire the right home inspector to get the job done. While a search for “best home inspector near me” is a start, these are some more advanced tips to help you find a good home inspector.
While all home inspectors should provide nearly identical services, some are much more thorough and communicative than others. Because most of us don’t need to hire one too often, it’s hard to know how to find a good home inspector.
For some insight into how to choose a home inspector, keep the following factors in mind when you evaluate your options.
Your real estate agent will know a few different home inspectors in your area, but it’s important to still interview their referrals. It’s also a good idea to check in with family, friends, or neighbors who had good experiences with their inspectors as they interacted with the home inspector as a client, which your agent likely hadn’t done.
Credentials aren’t required for home inspectors, but there are professional associations that offer them. If they’re not required, why inquire about them? While a certain credential doesn’t guarantee quality, they give you an idea of how knowledgeable a home inspector is about their industry’s standards and processes. Some certifications also indicate what the inspector’s experience level is.
For example, to qualify for an ASHI certification, the candidate has to pass the National Home Inspector Examination and prove they’ve done a minimum of 250 paid home inspections. Over 34 different states require home inspectors to pass this examination, so at the very least you should confirm they have passed the exam if your state requires it. InterNACHI’s certification also has testing requirements and requires the candidate to submit four mock or inspection reports to qualify.
As previously mentioned, many good home inspectors share samples of their home inspection reports on their website. Those samples are a great way to get a feel for what your report will look like. To get an even stronger idea of how the inspection will go and how the home inspector communicates about the issues they find, ask for a sample report of a home similar in size and age to yours. Ask a few different home inspectors for the most similar report they have available and compare them to each other—you’ll quickly discover which inspector creates the most thorough reports.
A thorough home inspection report is a valuable tool to homebuyers. That’s why it’s so important to find a home inspector who will communicate well and create a detailed report. After all, you don’t want anyone cutting corners when it comes to a purchase this big.
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