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How to Find a Good Home Inspector: Here’s What Homebuyers Should Look For

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Now that you have signed a contract for your dream home, it’s time to schedule an inspection. What is the inspection? An inspection is an important piece of the homebuying process. It gives you an objective look at the condition of your “home sweet home.” However, it can be intimidating and stressful. Imagine what could happen if the inspector discovers serious problems, or worse, if they overlook something that could prove to be a deal breaker. A competent, knowledgeable home inspector could save you heartbreak and possibly a lot of cash. You will also have peace of mind.

Many home contracts are dependent on the outcome of an inspection. It is important to find an inspector you trust. One in twenty contracts is canceled. The leading reason being the home inspection.

We’ve done extensive research to determine the best way to find a home inspector. To help you find a reliable professional, we spoke with Paula Burleson a top Las Vegas real estate agent, as well as a Northern Illinois home inspector.

What does it mean to be a home inspector

A home inspector in Northeast Colorado is a qualified professional who evaluates the condition of a house. They inspect and report on heating, cooling, plumbing, water, sewage, roofing, and other systems. They inspect the property for signs of water, fire, and insect damage.

Mike Follman, from Home Inspectors & More, Inc., McHenry, Illinois, says, “[A home inspection] provides a pretty good, thorough snapshot of the [property] conditions.” Mike has seven years experience in home inspection and more than 20 years of commercial and residential contractor experience. Each property is different, and Mike says that problems can be as minor as a chipped toilet or a loose toilet to more serious issues like foundation damage. The inspector is responsible for observing and reporting on any issues found. However, they do not usually suggest repairs or estimate the cost of repairs.

The home inspector also looks at safety and structural soundness. Burlison has more than a decade of experience in real estate and over 500 transactions. However, the inspector is limited to what they can see. For example, an inspector won’t likely be able to see roof damage if the roof is covered with snow.

Home inspectors can get credentials from respected organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors, as well as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Your home inspection is only as reliable and trustworthy as the inspector you hire. Burlison states that the home inspection gives you peace of mind and a low price.

How to choose the right inspector

Get started early with your search

Before you begin looking for your home inspector, make sure to start searching for properties. It is important to take enough time to vet the inspector. Allowing yourself more time can reduce stress and help you avoid rushing.

Refer others

There are many things that you should consider when choosing a home inspector. Burlison recommends that you start by asking for referrals. Referrals are sound, I believe. She says she will always recommend three inspectors to my clients.

After you have gotten names, make sure to do your research. You can look up Yelp and HomeAdvisor reviews. Talk to the inspectors and get an idea of their background and experience. You can be sure that agents will act in your best interests. However, it is important to do your research and choose your inspector.

It is also a smart idea to ask friends and family who have recently moved for their recommendations.

Verify certifications

For recommendations, contact professional organizations such as ASHI and NABI. Each organization offers different certifications and requirements. Consider that inspectors in many states must pass a licensing examination.

Find out more about the company

Choose an inspection company that specializes in home inspections. An inspection company that offers renovations and repairs may try to increase their business by adding unnecessary problems to the inspection report. The Better Business Bureau can help you verify the company’s standing. You can also view reviews, resolved complaints and ratings.

Burlison also recommends that you ensure that your company is licensed as well as insured. You can request a copy of an inspection report to see the quality of their work.

The best deal doesn’t always mean the best option

The average home inspection costs around $400, Burlison points out that it is important not to buy a bargain. She says, “You don’t want to pick an inspector based upon price,” and that “every time I’ve seen someone shop for an inspector based solely on price, it ends up being bad for them.” The old saying, “You get what you pay” is true in most cases. Prices for home inspections vary depending on where you live and how large the property is being inspected. Compare rates to find the best price.

Compare inspection reports

The inspector creates a report after each home inspection. This document is usually at least 30 pages long. The inspector writes the report after a a thorough evaluation of the property’s condition. To get a better idea of the quality and presentation of past inspection reports, it’s useful to compare them. A detailed report contains photos and descriptions of defects, as well as explanations for why they are important. You may also find maintenance tips.

Find out more

It is difficult to keep track of all this information, so it is important to have a list of questions. Ask about the qualifications and experience of an inspector.

  • They hold certifications and credentials (ASHI, InterNACHI).
  • Current licensing requirements in your state
  • They have had experience before becoming an inspector.
  • How long they have been a home inspector
  • If they are insured and bonded
  • What is included in the inspection
  • What the inspection does not cover
  • How long it takes to inspect
  • Referrals
  • Is this a full-time inspector of homes?
  • Past reports: Examples
  • Specialty Inspections that are specific for your property or area (air, sewer scoping and additional inspections of other structures on the property).

What to expect at inspection day

Inspection day is here. But what can you, the buyer, really expect from the day of inspection? It is important to be prepared for inspection. Pay attention to what the inspector is looking for. More details are below. You should bring a pencil and paper to make notes and allow the inspector do their job. You can let them know if you feel they aren’t being thorough enough.

Burlison suggests that buyers attend the inspection. She explains that it is valuable to be able “to go through the inspection one-on-one with the inspector and look at what [the inspector] feels requires care or maintenance.”

You can help remove the mystery from the inspection report by attending the inspection. This is because you will be better able to identify the items in the report. Your agent can assist you if you are unable to attend the inspection. This will allow you to see any noteworthy findings that could be leveraged during negotiations.

The listing agent and the seller generally will not be present during inspection. It is a good idea to not have family members or any other professionals present during the inspection. This will allow the inspector to complete their task with minimal interference.

The following are things the inspector should inspect during your house inspection:

  • Home exterior
  • Roof (if visible, if covered in snow, the inspector can’t inspect it).
  • Garage
  • Basement or crawl space
  • Attic space
  • HVAC
  • Elec.
  • Plumbing
  • Windows/doors
  • Interior condition
  • Floors
  • Pest inspection
  • Inspection of water/fire/mold
  • Foundation
  • Structural components

Be aware that some elements may not be visually visible and might need to be visually inspected. The inspector will not be prying open walls or inspecting potential problems that they can’t see.

Burlison advises clients that an inspection will take approximately one hour per 1,000 square feet. This is just a guideline to help you estimate how long it will take. Older homes can take longer due to more wear and tear. It may take longer to inspect smaller homes, and the layout of the house may affect the inspection’s length.

After the inspection is completed, you will receive your inspection report within few days. You and your agent will be able to review the report and decide if negotiations are necessary.

Do not skip the important stuff

An inspection is an important step in the homebuying process. It’s crucial that you know how to find a home inspector who has experience, credibility, and a great reputation. You should trust the person you hire to inspect your home.

Follman relates a particular home that stood out to him. I had one with an open crawl space. Although it was very small, I was able access the space to have a look. The whole bottom of the house had been wet for some time.” He said that he noticed the carpenter beetles. The beams were so damaged that they were bridging and compromising the structure of the house. The buyer decided that the home was not for him and moved onto a new property.

Reliable home inspectors can help you avoid costly repairs and hidden damage, as well as give you assurance that the property is in good condition.

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