Hiring a home inspector may not be as easy as it sounds. Years ago, inspectors were not involved in residential real estate transactions. Instead, buyers could only rely on their own impressions about the home and representations from the seller’s agents. In the present-day, this has changed. Most real estate contracts allow the buyer to order professional inspections on the houses before the contract is sealed.
The right to have home inspections done comes with the challenge of hiring competent and diligent inspectors. Finding the right professional is not easy because, in many places, almost anyone with a flashlight, basic knowledge of the process, and an official-looking checklist can set up an office as a home inspector. The only outstanding exception to this free-for-all is the special skills required to carry out the inspection or the remediation work for potentially hazardous materials such as lead-based paint and asbestos.
To avoid such scams when hiring a home inspector, a competent real estate agent should be able and willing to recommend several professional, home inspectors with outstanding skills. The challenging part is choosing the best candidates from the recommended group. Here are six basic factors to put into consideration when doing this.
Qualifications and Professional Skills
When hiring a home inspector, ask open-ended questions as pertaining to the inspector’s experience and training. The inspector must have attained some training in the construction field and building maintenance standards. He must also have a clear track record of experience in the home inspection niche. Depending on the age of the house and its location, you may need to hire an inspector who has the necessary skills to deal with lead-based paint, asbestos and other potentially hazardous substances in homes. You may also need to hire professional experts such as a structural engineer or a geologist.
Access the Inspector’s Scope of Knowledge
Always inquire the components of property that are included in his or her home inspection exercise and which ones are not included. For instance, will the inspector check the swimming pool? How about the roof and other in-built appliances?
Go through the Inspector’s Sample report
Ask the home inspector to give you a sample of his or her inspections reports or checklists. Access what is included in the report; does it only include check-off boxes or does it have a narrative description. Is the information represented in a coherent and clear manner? Does the report note down any problems that signify presence of health hazards?
Ask for references
Asking for references is crucial when hiring a home inspector. Ask the inspector to provide you with contacts of some home owners who have previously used his or her services. Contact these home owners to know whether they were satisfied with the services and the report they received. Talk to people who have owned home for some months or longer because some problems that are overlooked by an inspector can take a bit longer to surface.
Inquire About Their Memberships
Most competent inspectors with a well established reputation may not belong to a state or national association. However, belonging to a national association can be a plus. This is because such groups offer training and certification programs to their members plus up-to date information concerning industry practices as well as inspection standards.
Inquire about the Company’s Policy as Pertaining to Errors and Omissions
Man is to error and even experienced professional experts in home inspection can overlook some problems or make errors that should have been noticed. Inquire about the company’s policy in such occurrences. Does the company have an insurance policy regarding omissions and errors? Does the company appoint an individual inspector to supervise and stand behind the whole report?
Following the above mentioned tips will help you sort through a list of candidates and increase your chances to hire a true professional.