Getting a professional home inspection is a smart move before you decide to finalize a deal on a home. An inspection can reveal underlying problems in a home that are often undetected by untrained eyes. Depending on the results, the inspection can require the home seller to fix any problems revealed before you purchase the home.
A home inspection can also reveal issues that could be considered deal breakers for buyers. For sellers, the inspection can help identify potential problems before listing the home, giving them the opportunity to handle repairs on their own terms.
In order to get a top-quality inspection however, you need to find an experienced professional home inspector. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
Ask your real estate agent for a referral
Knowledgeable and experienced real estate agents can usually recommend a reliable home inspector. While you’re not required to hire the inspector recommended by your agent, asking for referrals can be extremely helpful if you need to get a few leads to start your search.
Remember to ask your agent important questions such as how long they’ve worked with the inspector, and what advantages you can gain if you choose to hire the inspector.
Search online for reviews and client testimonials
Experienced home inspectors usually have several client reviews attesting to their quality of service. Try to look for reviews and other information on a home inspector on their website or review sites like HomeAdvisor, Yelp, or Angie’s List.
Find out if they’re certified
While having certifications isn’t a clear indication of the quality of service they provide, it shows that the inspector is willing to take an extra step to give more credibility to their business.
Certifications can also give you a good idea regarding their level of experience. The American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI for example, requires inspectors to complete more than 250 inspections, pass their standards and ethics exam, and the National Home Inspector Examination (NHIE).
Some accredited home inspector associations to look for are:
- American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
- National Society of Home Inspectors (NSHI)
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
- American Home Inspectors Training (AHIT)
Ask to see copies of their license and insurance
There are some states that do not require licensing for home inspectors. In case you’re buying or selling a home in a state that does not regulate home inspectors, it’s a good idea to request copies of certifications, liability insurance, and reports issued by the Better Business Bureau.
A home inspector should also have errors and omissions insurance, a type of liability insurance that protects them from any mistakes they might commit. Good home inspectors are always vetted by a reputable insurance company.
You can visit this site to find out if your state regulates home inspectors. If it does, request a copy of the home inspector’s license to confirm their eligibility.
Request a copy of a sample report
You can get a good look at a home inspector’s experience level as well as the depth and quality of their process by asking for a sample inspection report. A typical home inspection report covers a large amount of home components. Pay close attention to the issues identified by the inspector, their explanation on why it matters, and their suggestions on how the issues can be resolved.