If this is your first time buying a home, you’re probably not familiar with what to look for in an inspector, or even know how to pick the right one.
Here are some questions to ask your home inspector before you hire him:
Are you certified and licensed? Even though some states don’t require a certification or a license, a home inspector who has them can give you additional peace of mind.
Are you insured and bonded? By having insurance, the home inspector is covered in the case that there’s a mistake in his inspection report, and the new homeowner decides to take legal action.
Are you experienced in residential inspections? Make sure the inspector has experience in residential inspections, as opposed to commercial inspections.
How long have you been a home inspector? How many inspections have you completed? Obviously, the more experience your home inspector has, the better you’ll feel. However, newer inspectors often have more experienced ones helping them out, so you actually get two sets of eyes instead of one, which can also help you. In other words, if the inspector is not as experienced, ask if he’ll have someone more experienced helping him.
Are you a full–time home inspector? If he is, then you know that the demand for his services is high enough for him to make a living out of it.
How much is the inspection? Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest option. Buying a home is probably the largest investment you’ll ever make, and you don’t want to jeopardize it by choosing an inexperienced inspector with the lowest price.
How long will the inspection take? If it takes less than two hours, then the home inspector may not be spending enough time to do a thorough inspection.
What does the inspection cover? Your home inspection should cover all applicable requirements in your state and comply with the standards of practice and code of ethics. Your inspector should be able to provide a list of areas that are included. If there are areas that you want to make sure your inspector covers, make sure you ask upfront so there are no surprises.
Will you provide a full report of the inspection? What will this report include? Does it include pictures? Do you have a sample? How long will it take for me to receive it? By asking to see a sample, you can determine if you’ll be able to understand the reporting style. Also, you should be able to receive a report within 24 hours of the inspection.
Can you do repairs based on the inspection? If not, do you have contractors that you’d recommend? This one is kind of tricky. If they say yes, then you’d worry about their intentions as they inspect your home. If they do offer repairs, make sure that someone you know well recommended this home inspector.
Will I be able to be there during the inspection? If they say no, that’s a red flag, and you should probably keep looking.
Are you a member of any professional home inspector associations? Some of the largest associations include the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI), the American Home Inspectors Institute (AHIT), the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). If they are members of any of these organizations, ask for their membership ID.
How do you keep your expertise up to date? What training do you have? This will give you an idea of how serious and professional the home inspector is. A good inspector will stay up-to-date on his training.
Can I get names and contact information of your last three references? You’re really interviewing this person for a job. It makes sense that you do your due diligence before trusting him with such a large purchase.
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