How to Choose a Home Inspector

Many people don’t choose a home inspector themselves. They simply engage the home inspector recommended by their real Estate Agent. However, there are a lot of people who like to keep control themselves. Those people will be assisted by this article.

Even those planning to engage their real estate company’s recommended inspector, will find this article useful. So, read on for guidance on what you can expect from your inspector, and a Real Estate Agent’s recommended home inspection service, to provide.

What Exactly is Defined as “Home Inspection”?

“A home inspection is when a home inspector determines the condition of a structure”. This expert “describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection”, but “does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components”. (Ref: Wikipedia Home Inspection)

real estate agent inspection choiceIn other words, a full home inspection and the report provide is a “snapshot in time” of a home, or other type of property ecompassing all aspects of the property. The purpose of these general reports is usually to provide buyers of homes with the information they need to elighten their decision to buy that house.

The main point of choice, when deciding on who to appoint to provide a general condition survey on any property will be the level of qualification you seek in your inspector. It makes sense that any person who can make such wide ranging judgements on buildings, on matters from dampness to structual weakness, will need to have been specifically trained in that skill. For example, a tradesperson (such as a plumber) no matter how expert he is in plumbing, would not be likely to know about things like local building codes for foundation construction, or the circumstances where toxic mold will occur.

Many people say always appoint a home inspection servce which will send a professionally qualified inspector. By that they mean a person who holds a registered training qualification as required by law issued by a professional body. The relevant professional body, is one such as  the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI); in the United States, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) in those states that require it.

house buyer agreementHowever, not everyone who enquires about home inspection services wants a general inspection, and on many occasions they will not even be a property buyer. Some will be for example, existing home owners seeking a mature property inspection, who are aware of a need for repairs, and seek impartial advice on the extent and nature of the work needed.

Others will be home buyers who are aware of particular problems with a property, but are considering the remedial work needed, in order to negotiate a reasonable price reduction before they buy.

When these additional types of enquirers are considered, it is far less clear that a ASHI, NAHI qualification is he most relevant when choosing the ability of a Home Inspector to deliver the best report.

Are You Really Seeking a Home Inspection or a Home Appraisal?

Don’t confuse home inspection with a home appraisal, or pricing of a property. An appraiser determines the value of a property, and most appraisers work within the real estate industry. If all you want is a professional appraisal of the amount you can ask for your property, or maybe how much is a fair price to pay for a property you are buying, you need to ask for an appraisal. The first person to ask for an appriasal is your real estate agent.

Steps to Choose a Home Inspector’s Qualifications

  1. Decide on the purpose of your home inspection, and clearly describe this to the Home Inspection Company, when you make initial enquiries. If you need an appraisal of value, clearly say so as well.
  2. When you receive a quote, make sure that it is clear what qualifications the proposed inspector will have, and make sure that the provider confirms that the inspector offered holds the qualifications required by statute in your state, or province.
  3. If the inspection service you seek is not a full inspection of “the condition of a structure” but something less and/ or more specialized, or the person is not ASHI, NAHI, etc., qualified and you live in a state or province where this is acceptable by law, consider appointing that person if you are satisfied they can do the work adequately.
  4. Check the service “scheme” offered. The service provider will most likely have made an offer based upon their company schemes for providing inspections of different types, levels of inspection from drive-past, to full including inspections requiring special access provisions. Note that some budget priced home inspection schemes will be cheaper, because they will specifically contain omissions, in order to reduce the work of the inspector, and/ or the potential liabilities of the provider. Make sure that you can live with any reductions in service, which come with cost savings you ask for. This is especially important when an inspection company service is requested and the person says that the cost must be no more than a price lower than most inspector’s offer.
  5. Sign the Contract, and appoint your home inspector, but not before reading the terms of the contract carefully. If necessary query any “legal language” you do not understand. Don’t be afraid to ask for an explantion of “lawyer speak”, in common language!
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