Finding a good home inspector when you need them can be tricky business. It is best to find one early, rather than scrambling at the last minute because you have to close on a deal.
If You’re a Buyer…
Considering all of the details, things to do and plan for, I suggest setting aside enough time to research the best inspector for your needs. The top inspectors will be busy and often booked up to a week or more in advance… especially during the busy season (spring and summer). In short, choose the inspector as soon as you can, long before you submit the offer. This will reduce a lot of stress.
In my opinion, only you should be the one to make the final decision on picking the home inspector. Take suggestions for friends and family, check online, etc. Real estate agents will typically offer a few to choose from as well. These days, mortgage brokers are referring home inspectors as well.
If You’re a Seller…
If you want to sell your home and want to know about the issues with your home before you put it on the market, consider a pre-listing inspection. This inspection gives you the opportunity to learn about and address problems before the home goes on the market. This can be a huge advantage to selling your home. However, do remember that this approach can reveal major issues with the home that you will have to tell the buyers about if you choose not to address them first.
After the inspection, you can disclose the findings with potential buyers. More than likely, the buyers will find their own inspector as well. Hopefully your pre-listing inspector does a good job for you, so the buyers’ inspector does not find too many additional problems. The added bonus? Now you have someone for your own home purchase, well in advance.
What to Consider
Aside from the usual technical questions about their training, areas of expertise experience, fees, etc… consider the following questions as well:
- What is their policy on shadowing them?
- Do they communicate clearly and effectively?
- Are they open to taking calls and sharing advice with you after the inspection?
- What kind of report do they provide? Is it given to you immediately after the inspection or later on? Do they include photos with their reports?
- Are they licensed and insured and do they belong to a professional association like CAHPI?
- Will they provide their standards of practice and contract before the inspection?
- Do they have a good reputation?
- Do they have cancellation policy?
Most importantly, find someone who truly cares about protecting you, while providing the best value for their service. You can usually gauge this by how they react to your interview questions. Hopefully the inspector will spend enough time with you over the phone to answer all of your questions.
With home inspectors, as any other service provider, you normally get what you pay for. Anyone with the proper training will learn the skills to be a competent inspector. However, character, ethics and common sense (which can not be taught in any classroom) are the key personality traits that will put any inspector to the test when you really need them. There are a number of good inspectors out there to choose from.
For more information, feel free to contact me about this or anything home inspection related. Good luck on your next home purchase or sale.