How to Choose the Right Home Inspector

You may think you’ve found the perfect home, but you never know what kind of issues the home could have under the surface. That’s why a home inspection is so important. You need to know exactly what’s going to require fixing, and then determine if the home is still right for you.

You want to make sure you’ve done all your research ahead of time. It’s never a bad idea to ask friends and family for referrals. If they had a great experience with their inspector, there’s a good chance you will too. Before making your final choice, and certainly before buying a house, you should ask your potential inspectors these questions:

1. What are your credentials or certifications?

It’s a good idea to find out if your inspector is a member of professional inspection organization such as the National Association of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Member of these organizations are typically required to follow certain procedural and ethical standards when conducting inspections. Many states also have home inspector associations, which are good alternatives if you can’t find an inspector who is a member of one of the above organizations. Remember, it’s OK to request to see their membership ID.

2. What is your experience?

Find out how many inspections they’ve conducted, how long they’ve been in the business and how much training they have. Knowing that your inspector knows what he or she is doing will give you peace of mind as you go through the process.

3. How much will the inspection cost?

Home inspection costs can vary depending on your location, the size and year the home was built, etc. While costs can range from $300 to $500, it’s good to remember that quality here may be more important than cost. If you try to bargain hunt, you may end up paying more in the end because you get lower-quality service. Nonetheless, it’s good to know what kind of cost you’re looking at, so you can budget appropriately.

4. How long will the inspection take?

A typical single-family home takes about 3-4 hours to thoroughly inspect. If your inspector tells you it will take less time than that, it may be a red flag.

5. What do you plan to inspect?

The job of your inspector is to find the things that you would never see just looking at the house. You want them to look at the roof, basement, attic, furnace, water heater, electrical box, etc.

6. Am I allowed to attend the inspection?

If your inspector tells you that you cannot attend the home inspection, that’s a red flag. They should have no problem with you attending the inspection, and it’s a great way for you to learn about the home you’re interested in buying.

7. What kind of inspection report do you offer?

You can expect to receive an inspection report for about 24 hours after your inspection. It’s important to ask your inspector about their reporting style to make sure it meets the requirements of your lender. You can ask to see samples ahead of time to make sure you understand the reporting.

If you’re not comfortable with any of the inspector’s answers to your questions, it’s best to look elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to check reviews and references before deciding on someone.

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