Tips for Hiring a Qualified Home Inspector
Home inspections weren’t traditionally necessary during residential real estate transactions, but times have changed. In today’s real estate market, you could end up with more expenses than you thought possible if you ride by impression and representation of the seller’s real estate agent (although that does still matter). The majority of purchase contracts formed today allow seasoned buyers (and first-time homebuyers) to have one or more professional inspectors check out the listing before the deal is completed.
The important part is ensuring that you hire a competent inspector who’ll deliver results efficiently. This can pose a challenge in Florida, since their are few regulations that prevent “non-qualified” from setting up shop as an inspector. However, special training is required before an inspector can do any work with potentially hazardous items such as lead-based paint or asbestos.
Your team of real estate professionals will more than likely be able to steer you in the right direction. Then you’ll need to filter out the best home inspector from the most-qualified options. Here are some tips that could make this process easier for you:
Double Check those Qualifications
Be sure to inquire about the inspector’s background (training and working experience). Ensuring that they have firm working knowledge in construction and building maintenance standards is a good start. You should also be able to do some research on their track record in the home inspection industry.
Older homes may still have some asbestos or lead-based paint, so you’ll want to check if the inspector is specially trained for that. People who are buying a home in Orlando might also want to look into structural engineers.
Review the Inspector’s Range
Be sure you know exactly what aspects of the residence a home inspector is (or isn’t) going to be looking over. You’ll probably have a good idea of the component of the property that is giving you the most cause for concern. Needless to say, you’re preferred inspector should be including that component in their inspection.
Get a Sample Report from the Inspector
You should ask for a sample of the inspector’s checklist or inspection report. Here are a couple of things that you should take notice of on the report report:
- Is there a narrative description or simple check-off boxes only?
- How is the information on the report conveyed– Is it clear and concise?
- Does the report account for components that could be a potential danger down the road?
Contact Previous Clients for References
Make sure to get a list of numbers for previous clients that have used the home inspector you’re looking to hire. Ask them what their impressions– were they satisfied with the services rendered? Be sure you reach out to people who have been in their home for more than a couple months. An issue that is overlooked by the inspector may take months to present itself.
Home Inspection Association Membership
There are many inspectors who don’t belong to any particular home inspection association. That being said, finding an inspector with an association membership is usually a good way to go. State and national associations provide valuable certificates and training programs for their members. You can rest assured that these inspectors will be up-to-date on best practices and standards.
Review the Inspection Company’s Error Policy
The best inspectors can sometimes encounter mishaps– we are all human. You should check with the inspector’s company to review their policy on covering employee error or mishap. Most reputable companies will have insurance for such scenarios. However, most companies will ask you to sign a waiver that essentially will limit their own liability in case of inspection error.
Still have some questions? Our home inspection FAQs page may help answer them.