Choose a Good Home Inspector
Miles Dyson – Inspection Connection
LC Mesilla Park , NM
June 24, 2008
ASHI Inspector #247372
The use of a Home Inspector at the time of a home purchase has become routine over the last few years. The value of learning details about the condition of a home prior to purchase is recognized in the real estate industry and a Home Inspection is a key tool. Real Estate industry professionals are familiar with the services provided during a home inspection but many home buyers may only interact with the Home Inspection profession a few times during their home purchasing careers. How can you be sure to get the most benefit from the inspection of your potential home? - Choose a good Home Inspector. The best sources of information about the quality of services provided by Home Inspectors are your co-workers, friends and family. Ask people you know about their home purchase experiences. Find out how much detail was included in the report and whether it was accurate. There is a wide range of experience, qualifications and education among Home Inspectors. If people you know were comfortable with a Home Inspection, chances are you will be too. Many homebuyers are new to an area and may not be able to rely on a network of friends or family for information. Fortunately there are additional tools to use in the selection process. Many Home Inspectors are certified or maintain memberships with national Home Inspection organizations. These organizations maintain great websites with search tools to locate Home Inspectors in any area of the country. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI, www.ASHI.org) and the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI, www.NACHI.org) are two of the largest and most respected. Each of these organizations requires testing, panel review of sample reports and proof of continuing education on an annual basis to maintain certification. Once you have a list of potential Home Inspectors it is important to contact each one and get some key information.
1. Ask to see a sample report. Some Home Inspectors have sample reports available on their websites or in your Realtor’s office. Look through the report to see that the language is clear and that the types of items covered would be important to you in the evaluation of your new home. Many reports now incorporate digital photographs. Check to see if the pictures in the report help in understanding the condition of the home. The recommendations in the report should give guidance on the type of professional or tradesperson required to complete service work.
2. Does the inspector work with a contract, a prescribed code of ethics or under an industry Standard of Practice? These documents are important to preserve your legal rights as provided by a Home Inspection. Ask to see a copy of each. Make sure that the areas and items to be inspected under the contract meet your expectations.
3. Ask about the training and experience of the inspector. Is he or she certified with a national organization? Do they keep current on industry knowledge with continuing education opportunities? Are additional licenses kept current or do they have areas of expertise that would help answer specific questions you have about the home?
4. Find out how long the Home Inspector plans to be on site during the inspection. A thorough inspection on a typical, 10 year old – 2,000 square foot home will take at least two hours. It is important that you are invited to attend the inspection and to walk with the inspector. A detailed report is great but being able to see issues first hand and discuss them with a knowledgeable person is extremely valuable. An on site review should also be provided. The Home Inspector should be able to provide a verbal list or discussion of the areas in the home that may need attention at the conclusion of the site visit.
5. Determine how and when the report will be delivered. Most reports are delivered to you or your Realtor’s office the day after the inspection. Many tech savvy inspectors can also provide electronic copies via email on the same day the inspection is performed. If you are a remote buyer - having electronic access to your report is critical to your home purchase decision making process.
6. Fees vary widely for Home Inspections. Try to shop for content not cost. An incomplete or substandard inspection can cost a lot in the long run. Good information is valuable but should be cost effective. Just because an inspection is the most expensive does not mean it is the best either. Make sure you have satisfied the questions listed above and consider the cost of the Home Inspection last. Some leg work at the beginning of the Home Inspector selection process will increase your satisfaction with the new home you choose. A home purchase is a hectic time for any home buyer. Use the information provided here to get the best result from your Home Inspection.
Connie Hettinga and Zane Fikany
Connie Cell: 575.640.4374
Zane Cell: 575.640.7279