Your clients — first-time homebuyers — have found the home of their dreams. They have no clue about the inspection process. If you are on the fence about whether or not you should attend the inspection, or if they are uncomfortable with your agency suggesting a home inspection service, offer them these tips for what to do before hiring a home inspector, as suggested to Huffington Post contributor Laura McHolm by Toby Deming of Associated Master Inspectors:
1. Experience & Location: Your first question should be how long the inspector has been working as a full-time home inspector in your region. According to Deming, the most critical factors when selecting a home inspector are the number of years they have experience in the business and their experience in the region in which you are buying a home. “Home inspecting is a trade that requires real-time on the job to be one of the best,” he said.
2. Education: Be sure to check their education. There are some national schools for home inspection, but many home inspectors come from an engineering or general contractor background. Deming suggested using an inspector who has knowledge of home construction.
3. Association: Active membership in a regional or national home inspectors association demonstrates they are staying on the cutting edge of the industry, according to Deming. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a national association that requires inspectors to fulfill at least 250 paid inspections to become a full member in addition to passing a more demanding and intensive written examination than most states require for licensing.
4. Use Friends & Family: According to Deming, the popular review sites for other home services is not an ideal place to find a home inspector. “The folks posting reviews usually just had their home inspection completed,” he said. “They don’t know what defect might be hiding in their new home that was overlooked by their home inspector.”
Instead, Deming said to ask friends and family who have used a home inspector in the past few years to provide a recommendation. “They will have lived in their home, and will have had time to discover if any items were overlooked,” he said.
5. One Trade: Don’t hire someone who also works on and repairs the homes they inspect. According to Deming, most states don’t allow home inspectors to work on homes they inspect because it’s viewed as a conflict of interest.
6. Licensed: Because home inspector licenses vary by state, Deming suggested you check what your state requires of a home inspector to ensure they are properly credentialed.
7. Insurance: Deming suggested you not let Error and Omissions insurance affect your decision. According to Deming, even if a home inspector offers this insurance, there are still a lot of time, trouble, and legal processes you will have to go through if a problem arises.
8. Personality Check: Make sure the home inspectors you interview have communication skills and a personality that jibes with yours. The ability to communicate well is a must, so if you are getting the sense that it’s going to be difficult to interact with this individual, Deming suggests you move on.
9. Sample report: The last tip is to review a sample report. Is it easy to read and follow? On the sample, does the inspector make the hard call, or does he continually defer to an expert? You are paying for his opinion, Deming noted. He should provide you with an educated assessment and detailed inspection.