It can be tempting to just buy that exquisite home without ordering a home inspection – after all, it looks perfect. That, however, could be a mistake.
Whether a home is new or old, ordering an inspection prior to signing off on the purchase is always prudent. Some mortgage lenders might even require an inspection prior to approving a loan. Even the best contractor/builder, or the most meticulous of homeowners, can’t ensure everything is in perfect working order. And, as a potential homeowner, it can be easy to miss issues if you’re on a walk-through.
It’s extremely important to select a highly reputable home inspector. Here are a few tips to consider, as reported in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report’s Money blog.
1) It’s perfectly appropriate to interview any home inspector prior to hiring them and ask them what type of inspections they offer. Ask if they belong to one of the industry organizations: National Association of Home Inspectors, American Society of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. There are some minimum requirements to belong to one of these, and you should eliminate any inspector not a member of at least one. Also, ask if they belong to any local or state organizations.
2) Ask about their background, visit their website and see how they got started as a home inspector. The best inspectors have serious training and/or background in the building industry. Some were once builders themselves.
3) Once you know how they got a start in the inspection industry, ask how many years of experience they have. It might be worth asking where they’ve gotten most of their experience. A red flag could be an inspector who has worked in several states in a short period of time. Ask for references of other homes they’ve inspected both recently and several years earlier. (If they missed something during a home inspection, it might not be obvious to a home owner for a while ).
Note: It could also be highly beneficial to ask about their worst nightmare when inspecting a home to make sure you steer clear of purchasing a home with any of the qualities mentioned.
4) Be sure you know what their fee covers before you hire them. What exactly will they be inspecting? Their job is to find things that aren’t obvious – those things that can’t easily be seen within reason, of course. Roof, attic, and basements should be inspected and a good inspector should be able to access them. Appliances, especially water heaters, furnaces, and electrical box should be inspected. Some inspectors will be able to tell you whether certain items are up to code but at minimum, should be able to tell you if systems are functioning properly and safe.
5) Two final items: Ask if you can be at the inspection. If they say no, that’s a serious red flag. (A good realtor will often attend the inspection with you as well.) You should not only be able to attend the inspection, but you should feel free to ask questions. It’s also not unusual for the inspector have some questions of their own and provide feedback as he goes through the inspection. You should be certain not to get in their way, but having homeowner/potential homeowner in attendance is usually welcomed by a reputable inspector.
And, it’s important to know when their report will be ready and what should you expect. If the inspection is required by the lender, you need to be certain that his report meet their requirements and any required format.
Checkout this video for our Huntington NY home inspection services: