For most of us, our home is the biggest investment we will ever make. For those preparing to buy, a quality home inspection is key. An inspection is usually required for a home purchase. A highly rated home inspector will look at every nook and cranny to gauge structure stability, present and potential dangers. But remember, a home inspection is not a guarantee or a warranty – it may not find everything
HOW TO FIND A GOOD HOME INSPECTOR
1. Do your homework: While many homebuyers hire a home inspector by their real estate agent, you can hire your own, but be sure to check them out. Ask to see proof of state certification or proof of membership in the National Associations of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
2. Look for experience: Both NAHI and ASHI require a minimum of 250 inspections, however most experienced professionals will say it’s better to find someone who’s performed at least 1,000 inspections and has at least three-to-five years of full-time experience.
3. Ask for licensing & insurance: Ask to see proof of licensing if your state requires home inspectors to be licensed, and inquire about proof of general liability insurance as well as and errors and omission (E&O) insurance.
4. Consider average cost: Home inspections generally cost between $300 and $450, and typically take three to four hours. The cost of an inspection will vary depending on such factors as the age and size of a home.
There are a number of things homeowners should do and know before getting a home inspection:
Get involved with your home inspection: While it’s not required that you attend the inspection, you should be there with your home inspector to discuss expectations and findings.
Demand a detailed inspection: Home inspectors should look for structural problems; roof damage; fire hazards, such as improperly vented chimney flues; electrical safety issues, including old wiring; and problems with plumbing and major appliances, like the HVAC system and hot water heater. Inspectors should physically crawl the attic and crawl space, if possible, rather than just taking a quick look around from the opening or doorway.
Read the inspector’s report: Many inspectors provide the report the same day as the inspection. The report should be thorough and easy to understand and should include narrative accounts of the inspector’s findings that are specific to your house, along with pictures and diagrams. Many inspectors will also include photographs with their reports. Keep in mind that few houses are perfect, so you should expect some issues to be found. Don’t hesitate to question your inspector about the report.
Do you need a home inspection if you’re building or buying new? Newer homes can have just as many problems as an older home. And, if you are building a home, inspections at key points during construction should be a part of the process.
Home inspection report can impact sales price: A home inspection report reveals problems that need to be fixed. You might use this information to renegotiate the price that you originally offered or you may be prepared to adjust your selling price. Keep in mind, sellers aren’t required to fix anything, no matter how egregious the situation.