As home buying season has kicked off in full gear for the spring and summer months, open houses are attracting prospective buyers. With that, hiring a home inspector can provide negotiation leverage for your buyer, or warn them of any potential problems.
Not all states have licensing requirements for home inspection companies. Ask your realtor if they have any suggestions for contacts.
Here are a few things to ask before hiring a home inspector:
1. Do you preform repairs, or just home inspections?
Some homebuyers will request advice from a general contractor rather than a home inspector. Home inspectors are typically checking the roof or appliances if they are included in the home. A general contractor is coming in to look at problems from a repair standpoint and can quote any repairs that need to be done.
After the home inspection, it might be in your best interest to hire a specialist or general conractor to find out how much the kitchen renovation or plumbing upgrade might cost you. Get the un-biased opinion first, then bring in a contractor to quote you for any repairs that need to be done.
2. Are you bonded and insured?
It is best to be sure that you are insured, so that if something happens to the inspector (i.e falls through the attic, or slips while inspecting your roof) you are covered. If the company doesn’t have proper insurance, they might sue you or the current homeowner. They can also try to a put a lien on the property. Be sure that the company is insured before the inspector comes onto the property.
3. Can you provide me wih references?
Check the inspection companies references by asking previous clients about the inspection, such as; if they arrived on time, if they inspected all aspects of the home (including the roof/attic), etc. Does the inspector offer you a full comprehensive report that spells out all the findings and lists all areas of the home?
4. Can I tag along on the inspection?
Sometimes, homeowners will leave the inspectors alone to examine the home, while others are more hands-on and will follow the inspector around. Ask the inspector to walk around with them and see if you can ask all the questions you need to.
5. What does the home inspection include?
You need to ask what the inspection includes in order to fully be aware that the inspector is not missing any parts of the home, or any important issues that may arise. The inspection really should be as thorough as possible. Open every door and every window and test every outlet. Many inspections don’t test the appliances, but they will turn on dishwashers and laundry machines to see if there is any damage on the gaskets, etc.
6. Will you send me a sample inspection report?
The inspector should send you a detailed report after completing the inspection. Ask to see a sample to make sure the information is presented in a clear and thorough format that is easy to read and understand. Also, see if the reports have any color photographs because those images can clearly demonstrate problem areas and help during the negotiation process with the seller and the seller’s agent.
7. Do you have any special expertise?
If you’re buying a special type of property (new construction, historic home, etc.) be sure that the inspector understand that there are special considerations for these types of properties. Older homes will have issues that newer homes won’t have, while recently constructed properties may have new materials and different types of framing that require a more critical eye.
8. How much do you charge?
Shopping on price alone will lead to cutting corners. You might save a few hundred dollars to hire the cheapest inspector but you could be paying in a bigger way because the inspector wasn’t thorough enough or the report was difficult to understand and follow.
Do you have questions about home inspectors? Give me a call today to see how I can help you! 619-250-4541
Your Local San Diego Real Estate Expert,