You have finally have your home in escrow and couldn’t be more excited. But, when your Realtor calls to ask you who you want to use for your home inspection, you freeze. Do you get to pick your own home inspector? How do you even go about doing that?
Choosing a home inspector isn’t a difficult process, but as usual, we have tips to help you make it even easier.
When you don’t have an existing relationship with a home inspector, your Realtor will likely present you with a list of pros that they recommend highly. But, you need to research for yourself and find out who is the best inspector for your particular home.
Some Helpful Tips:
1. Make sure that all potential inspectors are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors. This group has been accrediting home inspectors for more than 40 years and requires that inspectors complete at least 250 inspections before they can call themselves “certified.” It’s a high achievement for a home inspector and a confidence builder for their clients. You want someone who won’t just do the minimum work, but go the extra mile to assure your home is or isn’t in good shape.
2. Ask what inspections they perform. Some home inspectors only do a general home inspection, which won’t be as thorough. But because home inspectors come from all areas of the construction industry, some have specific expertise that can be helpful in finding problems that you probably didn’t notice when you walked into the home of your dreams.
3. Have they inspected houses similar to yours? Houses built in the early 1900s cannot be held to the same standards as houses built in the 2000s. Not only are construction techniques very different, but the sort of strange upgrades that may have been made to the older home also would never be seen in a newer house. An inspector that has little to no experience with a house like yours may flag things wrong that are common for a home of that age. You don’t want to get your inspection back and panic because your inspector held an older house to a newer standard, for example.
4. Do they provide photos within their reports? There’s no standard format for a home inspection report, though there are a limited number of software packages for inspection companies. They have a lot of options, including providing optional photos of trouble spots or other items the inspector may feel needs pointing out. You want a home inspector that will put in the extra time to send you photos to more easily monitor the problems with your home.
5. How soon can they come out? It might seem like a silly question, but you’re very likely working with a limited window of time to ask for repairs. That means the sooner your new home inspector can get out, the better. It takes hours to complete a thorough home inspection. You also never know if you will need to make major changes to the home. If you’re down to your final cut and one can come out tomorrow and the rest can’t until next week, it’s an easy call.