How do you find the right home inspector?
The answer is relative to your needs. Most real estate professionals have their preferred home inspector or a list of three or more they will provide. However, would you make a significant purchase without doing your research or, more importantly, the one that is the right fit?
How To Choose A Home Inspector?
Home inspections are crucial for the home buying process. It safeguards you're making a wise investment and that the home is safe with minor hidden and latent issues that could cost you thousands later after you own the home. When it comes to having a thorough home inspection, homebuyers should be vigilant when choosing a home inspector. There are inspectors out there without the proper certification or work ethic.
What Makes A Good Home Inspector?
Home inspections cost time and money, so you'll only want to do the home inspection on the property. Hiring a qualified home inspector that you can trust will help you avoid making a costly mistake. A good home inspector may have a long list of good credentials, but knowing their limits is important. Hiring a home inspector certified by a professional organization can give you peace of mind that the inspector is knowledgeable.
Start by making a checklist.
More things to consider
Certifications and Licensing
Missouri does not have licensed home Inspectors, while other states like Illinois do. A licensed home inspector is necessarily better; however, you should hire an ASHI Certified Home Inspector if you are in a state that does not require a license.
Professional Home Inspection Associations
Professional societies and associations have a standard of practice and a code of ethics that their members are bound to. Being a member of a professional association like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), is essential. Although there are other associations, there is a difference in what they call a certified home inspector. If you want to know the difference, go to each of their websites and compare the requirements to be qualified to use their logo and call oneself a certified home inspector. Some like ASHI, also run background checks on all new applicants.
Always get a quote
Inspection services are not cheap. Make sure you get a quote from your choice home inspector. Your quote should include the cost of the home inspection and ancillary inspections (i.e., sewer lateral camera, termite, gas safety, swimming pool, mold, radon gas testing, etc.) that you have chosen. Keep in mind you get what you pay for, so if you choose the lowest price, you are likley sacrificing quality, knowledge, and experience.
Ask Friends And Family
To find a reputable inspector, first ask friends or family who have recently purchased a home for recommendations. You can also find referrals through local online communities. Or look at a list of certified inspectors at homeinspectr.org or stlashi.org.
Read Home Inspector Reviews
Reviews help when searching for the right home inspector. Even though you will not be able to ask follow-up questions to understand the reviewers' circumstances and situation, you are likely to see a pattern of customer satisfaction, experience, and the services provided by the home inspector. Today everybody curates reviews; some trusted sites that you might look at when reading reviews include Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
Eliminate Uninsured Inspectors
Every home inspector should have general liability and errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance). This protects them from claims if they miss something or make a mistake in the event of a lawsuit. If an inspector is uninsured, do not hire them.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) says, "When homebuyers choose an ASHI Member for their home inspection, they are hiring a professional that is dedicated to serving their client. ASHI members know that a home is much more than just a property to the homebuyer; it's a place to start a new chapter of their life. The inspector's purpose is to help their clients get a better understanding about their potential homes. No home is perfect, but ASHI members will provide the insight homebuyers need to decide if the home is perfect for them."
The Home Inspection
The home inspection is an objective non-invasive visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. It won’t reveal any problems hidden behind walls or ceilings where the home inspector can’t possibly see. A home inspection is simply put a snap shot of the homes condition at the time of the inspection. Typically covering the conditions of the home’s heating/cooling and interior plumbing, interior electrical systems, roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows/doors, foundation, basement, and structural components.
When hiring a home inspector, you want the inspection performed to meet the ASHI Standards of Practice and the inspector to abide by the ASHI Code of Ethics. As municipalities all adopt different building codes the home inspector likely will not quote code but will have the knowledge to inform you what things are correct and not correct along with if the systems are safe or in need of major repairs.
Finally, read a sample inspection report. A good home inspection report will clearly identify the issue, it’s location, explain the significance of the problem if it’s not obvious, and give a recommended course of action. Remember the job of the home inspector is to educate you on the condition of the house you are buying so that you can make an educated decision. Look to your realtor for advice on how to proceed with your purchase based upon the information provide to you by your home, sewer lateral, radon testing, termite and any other inspections you had performed.