Not all homes are the same, and not all home inspections are the same. While we support you getting a good deal (on your home and your inspection), you should know exactly what you’re paying for. Just like you researched potential homes, you should research potential inspection companies. But what should you look for when picking a home inspector?
1) Look For Qualifications & Experience
You want a home inspector who knows what they’re doing. If they’re going into the inspection as blind as you, who knows what would happen. Check out their website for information relating to their qualifications and experience. How long as the company been in business? How much “industry experience” do they have? And how much actual home inspection experience do they have?
2) Review A Sample Report
Look for a sample report on their website. If you can’t find a sample report, reach out to the company and ask for one. If they don’t have a sample report, be wary. Any established home inspection company should have a sample report, which shows all of the ways they could help you.
If the report includes phrases like, “Recommend further evaluation…” or, “This was observed…” be a little worried, as all of these phrases are too vague to be helpful. You want to pick a decisive home inspector, who can give you true insight to the state of your future home.
And if you can’t decipher the report, pick a different home inspector. While you can ask the home inspector information about the report, and get some help from your agent, it’s important that you understand what is being said about the home.
3) Read Reviews
The client testimonials featured on the home inspection company’s website are going to be positive reviews. Putting up a bad review is like saying, “Hey! We’re not that good! But you should still hire us!” It’s not going to happen. For that reason, find company reviews not featured on the company website. Read reviews from Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google.
Besides just looking for good reviews, be on the lookout for thorough reviews (What specifically did a client like? What did the inspection lack? Were their questions answered?) and be conscious of how many reviews are there. (Plot twist: a company with 100 reviews is much more established than a company with 1 review.)
If you have friends who recently purchased a home, ask them about their inspection experience. What inspector did they use? Would they hire the company again? If the experience was good, you just got a lead. If the inspection was bad, you now know a company to avoid.
4) Know What the Inspection Includes
While obviously the inspection will include a review of the home, there’s some things that might not be included. These things could be a factor of weather conditions; it’s hard to judge the quality of a roof when it’s covered in snow. Or, they could be specific things based upon the location; the inspector may be able to look at the water heater, but can they tell you if the heater is up to local codes?
Besides the specific things, having an actual list of what each inspection company offers lets you know if one company doesn’t offer as extensive of a service as another company. Make sure you know what you’re paying for.
5) Ask to Tag Along
If a home inspector won’t let you come to the inspection, find a different home inspector. Going to the home inspection is important, because it’s an opportunity for you to learn about the home’s issues. A great home inspector will explain everything to you as you go along, so you fully understand the report and what repairs need to be done to the home.
Also, the inspection should be incredibly thorough (i.e., if it takes 20 minutes, something is wrong). Make sure the inspector plans to block out a solid chunk of time to look through your home with you.
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