Home Owner Tips

What to Look For in a Home Inspector

By Meaghan Loraas Last Updated May 13, 2022 5 min read

Do you need a home inspector? Chances are if you’re buying or selling a home, you do. 

Home inspectors are required by law in many states, and they can be beneficial when buying or selling your home. They will inspect the property, make recommendations on repairs that may be needed, and estimate what it would cost to repair them.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

The best way to find out if a home inspector is qualified is to ask around. Ask friends, family members, neighbors, real estate agents, etc., who have used one before. If they recommend someone, it could be a good idea to go with their recommendation. You want to trust the person inspecting because they have access to all the information about the house and its condition.

The next thing you should consider is how much an inspection costs. It’s important to know this upfront, so you don’t get taken advantage of later. Some home inspectors charge per hour; others charge a flat rate. You’ll also need to decide whether you want an independent inspector or one recommended by the seller or buyer.

What to Look For in a Home Inspection Professional

When looking at homes, there are some things you should check before signing anything. The buying process can be complicated for many potential buyers, but a good home inspector can make the journey easier. A home inspector should:

  • Be able to give you a written report of his findings and recommendations.
  • Give you a copy of any reports he has received from other professionals such as building inspectors, pest control companies, roofers, etc.
  • Have insurance coverage.
  • Be willing to work within your budget.

If you plan to sell your home, you might want to hire a professional home inspector who specializes in working with sellers. This type of inspector will help you understand how buyers perceive your home and what needs to be done to improve it.

If you’re planning to buy a new home, you should consider hiring a home inspector. He can help you determine which areas of your current home need improvement, and he can tell you where the most expensive problems are located.

Consider Experience

It’s essential to choose a home inspector based on experience. The more experienced they are, the better. You want someone who knows what they’re doing and won’t take advantage of you.

You should also consider the size of the company. Is it big enough to handle large projects? Will they send people out to do inspections during inclement weather? How long has the company been operating?

Ask Questions

You should always ask questions when interviewing a potential home inspector. What does the company charge? Does it include everything or just the necessary parts? How often do they come out? Are they insured? How much does it cost to add another inspector?

Do Your Homework

Before hiring a home inspector, you should conduct your own research. Find out what kind of home inspector you want. Do you want an independent contractor or someone recommended by the seller or the buyer?

Once you’ve decided on a home inspector, you’ll want to contact him to set up an appointment. Make sure you have all the information needed to make the right decision.

Home Inspectors – An Overview

A home inspection is a service provided by a licensed professional who examines a property and provides a detailed report of the structure’s condition and its systems. Most home inspections aim to identify defects that may lead to future damage or loss of value.

A home inspection is not intended to replace your judgment about the condition of your house. Instead, it is designed to provide you with objective data regarding the condition of your home.

How Home Inspections Work

The process usually begins with a phone call from the prospective homeowner. Once you agree to perform the inspection, you will receive a list of items to inspect. These items are typically broken down into structural, mechanical, and electrical categories. Of course, the company or individual will also complete a visual inspection for minor, aesthetic issues (if asked).

Structural Inspection

The structural inspection looks at the foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, chimneys, windows, doors, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, insulation, and other aspects of the building. It includes looking for signs of water damage, cracks, settling, mold growth, termite infestation, and other issues.

Mechanical Inspection

A mechanical inspection covers the appliances, heating/cooling system, water heater, furnace, central vacuum cleaner, and other major home components. This type of inspection ensures that these systems work correctly and are safe to use. Additionally, the inspector will bring up any potential issues they find. 

Electrical Inspection

An electrical inspection looks at wiring, outlets, switches, light fixtures, circuit breakers, and other electrical systems in the house. A good electrician can tell if problems with the wiring could cause fires or electrocution. 

What Should My Home Inspection Cost?

You should expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $1,000 for an average home inspection. However, this price varies depending on where you live and how many things need to be inspected. For example, a home inspection in New York City will likely cost more than one performed in rural Alabama.

Can I Pay My Home Inspector With a Credit Card?

Yes, most home inspectors accept credit cards as payment. You can also usually pay using cash or check. Check with your home inspector for more details.

When Will I Get My Inspection Report Back?

Most home inspectors return their reports within ten business days. Hiring a home inspector through a real estate agent may give you a longer turnaround time because he has to coordinate his schedule with the agent’s office.

Can I Use a Home Inspector To Buy a House?

No, a home inspector does not buy houses. He only evaluates them. However, he can help you determine whether a particular house is worth buying.

Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Hiring a Home Inspector?

Yes! Make sure you ask all of the following questions when interviewing potential home inspectors:

  • How long have they been performing home inspections?
  • What types of homes do they inspect?
  • Do they charge by the hour or per job?
  • Can they come back later to make repairs?
  • Do they offer references?
  • Is there anything else they would like to add?

Home Inspectors Are Not All The Same

There are several different types of home inspectors out there. Some specialize in residential construction, while others focus on commercial properties. Each type performs a slightly different set of tasks. Here are some examples:

Residential Construction Inspectors

These inspectors are trained to evaluate new homes being built. They look for defects such as cracks in the foundation, sagging roof trusses, and loose bricks. They also check for safety hazards such as exposed wires, missing fire extinguishers, and faulty smoke alarms.

Commercial Property Inspectors

These inspectors often perform building inspections before a property goes up for sale. They typically look for structural issues such as broken windows and doors, damaged insulation, and leaks. They also check for health and safety hazards, including mold, asbestos, lead paint, and rodent infestations.

Title Company Inspectors

These inspectors work for title companies. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that the seller owns a clear title. This means that no liens (debts) exist against it. They also verify that any mortgages were adequately paid off.

Mortgage Lenders/Realtors

These inspectors work directly for mortgage lenders or realtors. They are responsible for ensuring that the lender gets its money back if the buyer defaults on the loan. In addition, they ensure that the property meets the lender’s requirements by following their specific inspection checklist. 

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