How should you choose your Home Inspector?

Submitted by AltonDarty on Fri, 10/09/2015 - 06:40

     Stacks of forms, a seemingly endless procession of people holding out their hand for a check, schedules, waiting for title searches, tax stamps, surveyors, appraisers, termite inspectors, and last but not least, the home inspector. Hopefully you chose an inspector who is honest and who's only concern is that you are well informed  of all the aspects of your prospective home.

     How will you find your home inspector? Will you accept the advice of your real estate agent on which inspector to use? Talk to friends, coworkers, people in the area and ask who they feel is "the" home inspector to use? Internet searches and review sites?  Here's a thought to consider when finding a good home inspector, who is the inspector working for? An inspector who depends mainly on the referrals of agents may tend to tone down his/her comments in a report to prevent any problems that might affect the sale. No sale, or a price concession on the home affect the amount of the agents commission, which could result in the inspector not being referred any longer by that particular agent. Fortunately, most inspectors are looking to do a good job for you and will present any issues with the home in an honest and forthright manner. There still are some inspectors who will bow to the wishes of an agent who is only trying to make a sale, and some issues may get downplayed or ignored in the report. The majority of agents want to see you happy in a home that you may buy from them and also want an honest and complete inspection. The small minority of agents who ask inspectors to ignore issues or downplay them, and the small number of inspectors who would abandon their clients best interest in the pursuit of referrals give the industry a bad name, and leave consumers feeling that there is no one who has their best interest in mind.

     How to find "the" inspector? First, take a referral from an agent with a dose of skepticism, a realtor really should not be referring one inspector, but should provide you with a list of several. Sometimes there may be some attempt to steer you towards a particular inspector and again, a little skepticism could serve you well. Ask your friends, co workers, family who they may have used. Check out reviews online, look at inspectors websites, ask on Facebook who the best local inspector is.

    After you have a list of several inspectors, pick up the phone and call. Ask questions, how long have you been doing this job?, What is your background or training that makes you a good inspector?, Can I attend the inspection?, How long will the inspection take? How much will the inspection cost? When will I receive the report? Do you have a client that I could call to speak to about the job you did for them? Listen to the tone, inflection and manner in which the inspector relates this information to you. Do they sound confident and self assured? Do they seem to come off as a someone who is truthful and open? When speaking about background & training be sure and ask if they are licensed (if required in your state, some states do not regulate inspections), most inspectors are more than happy to have you attend the inspection, and one that does not want you to attend may be an inspector to pass on. Length of the inspection will vary greatly with the size and age of the home, the pace of the inspector and their experience. Most inspections will take from 2-3 hours to complete, older homes, homes with lots of issues, or larger homes will take more time. Cost of the inspection will also vary greatly, and this is no time to go for the lower bidder strictly due to price. Normally prices may vary between $50 to $100 from one inspector to another, not a huge range when you consider that this is probably the largest monetary investment you will ever make. Some inspectors will deliver the report on site, others may be from 24-48 hours. Personally, I like to return to my office after an inspection, put all the high resolution photos on a large screen monitor and complete the report while often referring to the photos, and I can usually get the report to the client well within 24 hours. When asked about speaking to a past client what I normally do is I will call a client and ask if they would mind giving a prospective client a call to discuss their experience. Several of my clients are repeat clients and have absolutely no problem speaking of their experience with the home inspection. I have a client who I have performed 5 inspections for in 8 years. She purchased each home and has been happy with the inspection and reporting and she has now referred me to over 40 friends, neighbors, family members and coworkers. I consider this to be the best indicator of my work. Clients referring me to others and clients who return to use my services again are indication of the trust they place in me.

     In the end, you need to perform your own due diligence on the choice of a home inspector. Find an inspector who will be open, honest and who is willing to put your interests first. A professional home inspector works only for his clients and not for any other person involved in the real estate transaction.

Submitted by AltonDarty on Fri, 10/09/2015 - 06:40