When buying or selling a home, a home inspection is recommended. As a consumer, you are not sure what to look for in this large investment. However, a home inspector does. But with any profession, there are good ones and bad ones. How do you choose a home inspector? Google or ask for recommendations, look up reviews, look for one that is bonded, certified, and insured, find out if they are ASHI or InterNachi certified, what is the size of the staff, ask for a sample of a home inspection report to see how thorough the person is, make sure that you are allowed to be at the inspection (if you ordered it.) Let’s take a look at why this is important and the areas above.
Why This is Important
Even though a home inspection is not required, it is highly recommended as this is the largest purchase you are probably making in your life. You want to hire a home inspection company that knows what they are doing and will take care in inspecting the structural, mechanical, and safety aspects of a home for you. There are so many companies to choose from and you want to hire the best one for you.
Where to Start When You Choose a Home Inspector
Google or Ask for Recommendations
Sometimes we don’t know where to start to find someone for a service. One way is to start on Google and put in, “home inspectors near me.” Then, you will have a list. People often will also ask friends for recommendations on social media from the list that appears.
Most of the time, a referral from your Realtor will be a good place to start. They should give you 3 different home inspection companies to research/choose from.
Look Up Reviews to Choose a Home Inspector
Take a look at online reviews of the company. Using sites like Yelp, and Google My Business, Next Door Neighbor, and other sites can help you find reviews. Many will also register with the BBB – Better Business Bureau and you can find any complaints against them there as well.
Bonded, Certified, and Insured Are Important When You Choose a Home Inspector
You don’t want a fly-by-night company to do the home inspection. Instead, you want an inspector that is bonded, certified, and insured. This means they have gone through the appropriate measures to protect themselves and you. If you find one that is not insured, move on to the next one. This is because they do need to crawl into attics and small spaces. What if they get injured? They can sue you if they are not insured. There are plenty out there to choose from so go to the next in line.
Certification is important. If they are not certified, then how do they know what to look for?
Choose an ASHI or InterNachi Certified Home Inspector
Reputable home inspectors are members of one of these organizations. ASHI is American Society of Home Inspectors and requires a home inspector to pass a rigorous exam as well as 250 inspections. Now, someone who works at the company may not have that certification yet but should have someone accompany them to the inspection that does.
If the home inspection company is certified by InterNachi, which is International Association of Certified Home Inspectors instead, that is fine too. This is another excellent organization that requires 24 hours of continuing education per year as well as numerous courses and exams. You can search the database on each website to find out if specific inspection companies are certified by either organization.
When you are narrowing down your list, these are some things to do or make sure are okay:
Request a Sample Inspection Report
The reason you want to request a sample inspection report is you want to know how detailed the inspector is. A detailed report means that the inspector takes time to look at all of the required areas. Do they use photographs so they can let the buyer (if a home inspection) or the seller (if a pre-listing inspection) know what the trouble areas are? That is always a good sign so they know what the problem is. Make sure you will have a written detailed report as well within a few days of the inspection. Here is a sample of a home inspection report that we have done.
Can You Attend the Home Inspection
So you like the sample inspection report, now find out if you can be at the inspection. If it is the buyer who ordered it, then the buyer should be able to attend. Also, the owner should leave the home for a bit while the buyer is with the inspector. If it is the home owner who ordered it, he/she should be able to attend. If a company does not allow the person who ordered it to attend the inspection, this is a red flag and move on to another company. (Keep in mind social distancing during these current conditions).
Home Inspector Should Be Familiar With Your Type of House
You want an inspector who is familiar with the type of house you are buying or selling. If you are buying a historic home, you want someone who has experience with this type of home. This is because the materials used on the house are not going to be the same as what is used on a modern house. Someone who doesn’t have experience in this area won’t know what to look for.
If it is a new construction home, choose a company that has experience with the materials used and the building codes in that area.
Find Out the Cost and Length of Home Inspection
Depending where you live, home inspections will vary in price. They usually range from $350-800. What does the price include? Finding out this information is important and compare it with each company. How long will the inspection be? Most take about 2 ½ hours but can be longer depending on the size of the home.
The Home Inspection Company Should Be Able to Perform Other Inspections (Add-ons)
If you have a home that needs a septic inspection, then you need an inspection company that can do that as an add-on. Do you think there might be mold? Then a company that performs mold inspections needs to be the one that comes to the home. If you hire a company that doesn’t do anything that you may possibly need, then you are paying for nothing.
Have Questions About Choosing a Home Inspector?
You may have questions, so here is a great blog to read and a video below. These may answer more of your questions.
Choosing a good home inspection company is important. There are so many but finding one that is certified, has good reviews and ratings, takes the time to listen, makes a great written report, knows about the type of home, and lets you be there for the inspection is important. Need a home inspection company or have questions? Leave us a reply below so we can help!