What Is A Home Inspection And How Do I Hire An Inspector?
Ask if you can be present for the inspection
A home purchase involves not only a lot of time involved, but a substantial amount of money as well. With so much on the line, it’s wise to be present for the inspection. You do have the right, but there are more benefits. The home inspector can point out certain things about the house and you can become educated about the property that you are buying. Double check before you hire a home inspector whether it’s sonalmitted for you to be present for the inspection.
Check to see if the home inspector is bonded and insured
A home inspector is not required to be bonded or insured. However, it’s very wise to look for a home inspector who is. This means that the company has insurance and has secured money to an insurance company in the case that they are sued by a client for their work. It provides an extra level protection for you as a client of the home inspector.
What experience should I look for In a home inspector?
The survey showed that over 75% of the real estate contracts contained contingencies based on home inspections. Thus, as such a pivotal step in the purchase a home, it’s important to check the training, education and qualification of the home inspector that will be used. For example, in Florida, an individual must comply and complete certain requirements that are regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Each state has their own requirements, its therefore important to ensure you hire a state certified home inspector.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is simply an assessment of the home. This inspection is conducted by a qualified and trained home inspector. Seventy-two percent of Americans believed that their home inspection before the purchase of their home helped them avoid potential issues with their home, according to a survey by the ASHI.
tips to find a home inspector
Get up to date on province-based home inspection regulations
Many homeowners assume that home inspectors are licensed and regulated across Canada. This is simply not the case. In the 1990s, the National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC) was put in place to oversee standards and to develop a national designation. Home inspectors who complete the program become National Home Inspectors in Canada. However, having this certification and designation is not mandatory. While the NHICC program is backed by multiple stakeholders, such as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), there is nothing in place to prompt wide-spread adoption of this designation.
Ask about memberships and home inspection certifications
After you confirm that the home inspector has all required certifications, find out whether they are members of associations. A couple of examples include the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors (CAHPI) or the Canadian National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (CanNACHI). “If you’re in British Columbia or Alberta, those provinces have a web directory that you can go to and the directory provides the names of those that meet the licensing standards in B.C. and Alberta,” says Allen.
Interview multiple home inspectors and ask what they look for
When you go to buy a new car, you don’t walk into the first dealership and purchase the first vehicle you test — so what makes finding a home inspector any different? Ask as many questions as you want, keeping in mind that their expertise will result in the decision to purchase your most expensive asset. The key is to for you to feel comfortable with their skills and expertise. For instance, you could ask the following.
Expect and ask for a home walkthrough
Ask potential home inspectors if you can be there for the walkthrough, which takes anywhere from two hours in a condo to four or more hours in a single family detached home. If the inspector hesitates or tries to persuade you that your presence isn’t necessary isn’t the right person for you. On the flipside, if an inspector tries to coordinate a walkthrough so that you can attend, this is a great sign.
What to expect during a home inspection walkthrough
Inspectors look at everything from appliances to HVAC systems but he or she cannot inspect elements that are covered up or hidden. If a homeowner has stacked a dozen boxes in front of the electric panel, your inspector won’t get a chance to inspect that integral home component. As a result, it’s always a good idea to send a message to the seller (through your agent) to ask for easy access to all integral systems within the home.
The Home Inspection: Do’s and Don’ts for Home Buyers
Do get more than one home inspector
It’s in your best interest to choose a home inspector with care. Your real estate agent may recommend an inspector, or the seller might offer to show you a report from a home inspection they’ve had done. To avoid any conflict of interest and to get the most objective information on the home’s condition, you’ll want an independent home inspector. And because things move quickly after an offer is accepted, you may even want to research inspectors while you’re house hunting.
Do get a home inspection for new construction
Even if you’re buying new construction, a home inspection should still be on your to-do list. A home inspector may evaluate a home differently than a county or municipal inspector, whose job is to determine whether new construction complies with building codes. At a bare minimum, a home inspector is a new set of eyes double-checking that there aren’t any loose ends (or unconnected ducts).
Do be there for the home inspection
It’s recommended that buyers be present during the home inspection. Following the inspector from room to room will allow you to ask questions as they go. That will help you better understand the inspection report — which can feel pretty intense, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer — and learn more about your potential new home.
Don’t get in the home inspector’s way
While you’re encouraged to tag along and ask questions, don’t impede the home inspector. You should also stick with them, rather than heading off to other parts of the house. For example, if they’re checking the bathroom water pressure and you start running the kitchen sink, it could mess with the results.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller
You shouldn’t expect the seller to take care of every last item in an inspection report — a thorough home inspection can easily list dozens of separate defects — but you may want to negotiate the cost of major repairs that were not included in the seller’s disclosure.
Tips for Choosing A Reliable Home Inspector
Verify You Can Tag Along During the Home Inspection
While you are not required to go along for the inspection, it is in your best interest to do so. The home inspector can explain all the different things he or she is looking for while also giving you valuable insight into the state of the home. If you do choose to purchase the home, your trip with the home inspector will get you acquainted on where everything is in your new home, get you educated on general maintenance of the major components in the home, and take note of any areas that may give you trouble in the future even if they are not major issues right now.
Choose an ASHI certified or InterNACHI Inspector
Inspectors that receive certification with ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) or InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) undergo rigorous technical examinations in addition to following a strict code of ethics. This is not to say there are not some fantastic home inspectors who do not hold these certifications, but it is just another level of confidence for you when selecting a home inspector.
Find Out What the Inspection Includes
The best home inspection will be a thorough one, where the inspector goes over every little detail of the home. You want an inspection that looks at every component of the home including: plumbing, electrical, structural condition, heating and AC, basement and foundation, roof and attic, appliances, pest evidence, and any environmental issues such as mold, radon, asbestos and lead paint. Most home inspections should take two to three hours to complete. If you are purchasing a larger home, a fixer-upper or an older home, the inspection will more than likely take even longer. Just make sure you know going in exactly what you are getting.
Is the Home Inspector Insured?
Finding out about insurance is one of the most important questions to ask when interviewing a home inspection. Climbing in attics and wandering through basements and crawl spaces does carry a certain amount of risk, which is why reputable home inspectors carry insurance. If the home inspector accidentally gets injured during the inspection, you don’t want to have to worry about liability.
Ask Your Realtor for References
One of the best resources for picking a home inspector should be your realtor. If your agent has been in business for any length of time, they have probably encountered quite a few home inspectors. By observation, your agent can see who does a thorough job and who does not.
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.