How to Choose a Home Inspection Company
When a house is bought or sold, a home inspection is a necessary procedure that alerts both homeowners and buyers to the condition of the property in question. If you are selling a home, it is important to have an inspection conducted so that you will be aware of any potential issues with the home you are selling. If you are buying a home, you should have a separate inspection conducted to be sure there are no hidden issues, and to negotiate the contract with potential repairs or problems in mind.
Be prepared for the cost. The average fee for a home inspection is between $350-$500, but the information received from an inspector is priceless. It could be the turning point between a sale and a buyer going back to searching for the perfect home
Understand the actual inspection. Home inspectors enter a home and analyze all of the major components that make up a house purchase. Home inspection companies document the safety and overall condition of a home at the time of the inspection. Home inspections usually take about 3 hours for a minimal inspection, and 5 or 6 hours in order to arrive at a thorough, proper assessment. Depending on how old or large a house is, it may take longer or less time to complete
Be prepared for bad news. It is a home inspector’s job to find any existing or potential problems with a house. They can lose their license if they fail to report issues, so although it might feel like they’re purposely giving bad news, be thankful for the information
Find out what company the other party is using. If you are buying a house, ask the seller what company they used to inspect the home, to ensure that you choose a different one
Tips to Find the Best Home Inspector
Before you buy a home, it’s always a good idea to get a professional home inspection. In most cases, you can make your purchase contract contingent on a satisfactory inspection. That means if you don’t like the inspection results, you can cancel the contract, get your deposit back and walk away from the deal. Or you can negotiate with the seller to cut the price or make repairs to problem areas uncovered during the inspection.
Even if the results of the inspection mean you agree to accept the house as-is at the contract price, a good home inspection can give you valuable insights into the property you’re buying and help you plan for future maintenance and repairs.
“One thing the inspector won’t tell you is whether you should buy the house or not,” says Reuben Saltzman, co-owner and president of Structure Tech Home Inspections in Minneapolis. But a good inspection should give you enough information that you can make an educated decision on your own
Choose an inspector who wants you around during the entire inspection. “We recommend bringing the clients there during the inspection every single time from start to finish,” Saltzman says, rather than just showing up for the report at the end. “I don’t think the clients get as much out of the inspection if they do it that way.”
Ask for a sample report. “Any great home inspector should have their home inspection reports displayed on a website,” Saltzman says. See if the reports are clearly written and how they are formatted. Saltzman says a good report should identify the defect, explain why it matters and suggest what should be done to fix it. All good reports also include photos.
How to Choose a Home Inspector
Would you call a retail store and ask “How much do you charge for a TV?” Probably not. You’d have to do research and decide what you want to buy before asking for prices
Home buyers often ask me this because they’re trying to find the inspector that offers the best deal. When buyers are only concerned with the price of a home inspection, they have already made an assumption that all home inspectors offer the same thing, and they assume they’re comparing apples to apples. This just isn’t true.
When reviewing a sample report, there is much more to look for than just photos and illustrations. Watch out for useless report writing that is designed to cover the home inspector’s butt, not yours. A bad report would contain a lot of phrases like “This was observed, recommend further evaluation and correction by a licensed blah blah blah”. With this type of writing, you could easily have an inspection report that recommends a dozen additional inspections. If further inspections are needed, that’s fine, but these recommendations should never be made lightly, because additional inspections require more time and money.
When I first started inspecting, I was told by a home inspection instructor that this was the best way to write a report. As I’ve written more and more reports over the years, I’ve come to realize that home inspection schools teach this style only to protect the inspector. This doesn’t provide a service for the client. A good home inspection report will clearly state the problem, explain the significance of the problem if it’s not obvious, and will give a recommended course of action.
When picking out a home inspector, spend some time researching inspectors, even if you receive three different names of inspectors from your real estate agent. Many agents give out three names because they don’t want to assume liability if their client isn’t happy with the inspection, not because they have three companies that do great work
Choosing the Right Home Inspector
Buying a home? It’s probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection. The cost of a home inspection is very small relative to the value of the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring an InterNACHI-Certified Professional Inspector® is almost insignificant.
You have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals. Don’t stop now. Don’t let your real estate agent, a “patty-cake” inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping here. InterNACHI-certified inspectors perform the best inspections by far
InterNACHI-certified inspectors earn their fees many times over. They do more, they deserve more, and — yes — they generally charge a little more. Do yourself a favor… and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.
The licensing of home inspectors only sets a minimum standard. Much like being up to code, any less would be illegal. Imaginary people, children, psychics (who claim to “sense” if a house is OK) and even pets can theoretically be home inspectors. InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, front-ends its membership requirements.
have to pass InterNACHI’s Online Inspector Examination, and re-take and pass it every three years (it’s free and open to everyone, and free to re-take);
have to complete InterNACHI’s online Code of Ethics Course (free to take after joining, and self-paced);
have to take InterNACHI’s online Standards of Practice Course (free to take after joining, and self-paced);
must submit a signed Membership Affidavit;
substantially adhere to InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice;
abide by InterNACHI’s Code of Ethics;
have to submit four mock inspection reports to InterNACHI’s Report Review Committee (for free) before performing their first paid home inspection for a client if the candidate has never performed a fee-paid home inspection previously
How to select an inspector for a home you’re buying
A professional home inspection helps home buyers learn about the condition of a property before making a purchase. But not all home inspectors are created equal.
We asked Kathleen Kuhn, president and CEO of HouseMaster, a home inspection company, to share her insights into how consumers can pick a home inspector who will do the best job.
“Consumers often only ask for information about the fees; however price should not be the deciding factor,” Kuhn wrote in an email. “Saving a few dollars on a home inspection could cost you thousands down the road. Consumers should inspect the inspector when shopping for a home inspector.”
“These requirements are a good place to start, but there is no guarantee that the inspector is competent or is staying current,” wrote Kuhn. “Consumers should make sure that a home inspector has access to ongoing technical support and is tested every year — not just during initial licensing — to ensure they stay up-to-date on inspecting conditions in a home.”
Home inspectors provide a report to buyers after the inspection. The report quality and features within it are also crucial to a good inspection, wrote Kuhn. Buyers can request sample reports from inspectors before they hire them to see the level of detail they can expect