In residential real estate transactions, home inspections are unheard of a few years ago. Instead of a home inspection, buyers simply relied on the representations of real estate agent of the seller and the buyers own impressions of the home. Today, the process is different. Most real estate purchase contracts are given the buyers reasonably broad rights for one or more professional inspections of the house before the purchasing process complete. It comes with the challenge of hiring the competent and diligent inspectors. Finding the right person is not easy. This is because in most states, with a flashlight and an official looking checklist anyone set up a shop as a home inspector.
- License: In some states, a house inspector license is must. They have to show it to clients when they ask. Some states the license is not regulated. Look for a licensed home inspector as those are recommended by the government. If you have any doubts about the license of that inspector, just check in your state government website for the details.
- Qualification: Ask open ended, and straight questions about the inspector’s experience and training as it relates to home inspections. The home inspector should have undergone training in building maintenance standards, and construction. In home inspection business, they need to have a track record. Based on the age and location of the house, you need to hire an inspector who is qualified to deal with lead based paint, asbestos or other potentially hazardous substances. You may also need to hire a structural engineer or geologist.
- Ask for sample report: Ask the inspector to provide a sample inspection report or checklist. Check the report, whether the information explained and presented in the report is clear and complete, whether the report highlights any problem that are potential hazard.
- Knowledge of the building code: Ask the inspector whether they understand the state’s building code. It is generally changing. Old houses have old code and the new houses are applicable for the new code.
- Memberships: Many good inspectors do not belong to a state or a national association of home inspectors even though all else is fine. If the inspector has an association membership, it is a plus. This is because these groups provide their members with certification programs and training. These will have up to date information about inspection standards and industry practices.
- References: Check for references about the inspector. Directly ask him at least three recent clients for reference or try within your known group or check in the better business bureau for any complaints against the inspector.
Even the most experienced inspector may commit mistakes while they are inspecting, because they are also human beings. Ask them what the company policy is in such cases.