If you're reading this, you likely have a house under contract. In the contract, you asked to have a home inspection contingency so that you know the integrity of the house you are about to buy. Your Realtor should provide you with recommendations of home inspectors, but how do you choose which one? Asking these questions will help you find the right inspector.
1. What does your inspection cover?
If you are working with an inspector that is new to your state, is based in a different state, or works in multiple states, ask the inspector to ensure that they are meeting all the state requirements, common standards of practice, and code of ethics. You can even request to see this information beforehand so that you can ask clarifying questions. Also, if you have any specific concerns about the house, make sure you address them with the inspector beforehand.
2. How long have you been a home inspector and how many home inspections have you completed total and in the past year?
A inspector may have a website that lists their history and feedback. If not, feel free to ask an inspector to provide you with this information. Also, new inspectors could be very qualified and be partnered with a seasoned inspector.
3. What is you specialty? Are you experienced in Residential Inspections?
It's generally helpful to have experience in construction or engineering. However, this is not a substitute for experience in residential home inspections. Note, there can be inspectors with more experience in commercial home inspections.
4. Will the inspector also make improvements based on the inspection?
Ask the inspector if their association and state regulations allow them to perform repair work they discover from performing the inspection. However, be aware that this can be a conflict of interest and may be prohibited.
5. When can you preform the inspection and how long will it take?
Frequently, in contracts you have a two week period to request the repairs you want done on the property. This means that you will need to have the inspection completed with enough time for you to develop your requests for repairs. So when scheduling an inspector, sooner is better. On the average single family home, the inspection process will take 2-3 hours. However, this is a good question to ask the inspector.
6. How much does the home inspection cost?
Costs can vary significantly. To help insure you are getting a good price plus high quality service, it helps to get recommendations from your Realtor. Also, it helps to ask these questions to various inspectors so you get a good idea what you are receiving for your money. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does not regulate inspection costs.
7. When will you provide the inspection report and what will it look like?
Again, speak with your Realtor about the time frame you need to have the inspection process completed by. You want to make sure the inspectors can complete the job within this time frame. Often, inspectors will provide the report within 24 hours. You may also want to ask to see samples of home inspections so that you get an idea of what the finished report will look like.
8. Can I shadow the inspection?
Going through the house you are going to buy with the inspector is an excellent educational experience. The inspector can give expert insight on the house's current condition and how to best maintain the home. If an inspector refuses to let you shadow them, you should see this as a red flag.
9. Are you a current member in a professional home inspector association?
There are a lot of state and national associations that a home inspector could hold membership. You can research or perform whatever due diligence you think is appropriate. You can request to see their membership ID.
10. Are you licensed and do you pursue continuing education programs to maintain your level of expertise?
Recently, all home inspectors have been required to become licensed. So, it is important for you to ask your potential home inspector if they are licensed. In addition to the license, an inspector who is committed to continuing education is likely committed to professionalism. This is especially important when you are dealing with older and unique homes.
In addition to these questions, I am happy to give you my recommendations based on the home inspectors I have used in the past. If you would like my recommendations or have any further questions, call or email me.
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