Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
- What does your inspection cover?The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state if applicable and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront. ( Read my Scope of Work under Samples – FULL REPORT)
- Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well. ( YES, Charles Barnes School of Real Estate and Appraisals- Home Inspectors course, Mid-West City, OK)
- Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest. ( NO, it removes the conflict of interest and focuses on the inspection only)
- How long will the inspection take?The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours for a typical single-family house; anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection. (The same amount of time for inspections )
- How much will it cost?Costs vary dramatically, depending on the region, size and age of the house, scope of services and other factors. A typical range might be $150-500, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Cost does not necessarily reflect quality of the inspection. ( Size and age is what I use to determine the fees in the range above) Don’t waste your time trying to find the cheapest Inspector in town. If you want the best than spend the extra 30 – 50 dollars more. Remember you’ll have 30 year to regret that cheap inspection. I’M NOT THE CHEAPEST!
- What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector’s reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection. (My report is a computer generated, narrative based, with digital images. In most cases, you can receive your report within 24 hrs or less.)
- Will I be able to attend the inspection?This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector’s refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert. ( I encourage you to attend and ask questions, this is your inspection)
- Do you offer a refund if the inspection service and or report is not conducted to the standards of practice?Some inspection services states in their contract that there maybe some type of refund in this case. (Yes, within 5 days and proof of my failure to meet the obligations of the contract must be undisputable.)
- Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?One can never know it all, and the inspector’s commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training. (YES, Oklahoma requires a minimum of 8 hrs of CE for license renewal and NACHI requires 24 hrs of CE to stay a member)
- Do you use any type of special test equipment for your inspection?A thorough inspection can not be completed without some specialized tools or equipment. Tools such as moisture meters, CO detectors, and receptacle testers are needed in most inspections. (YES, to include an infrared camera and more)
3 Deadly Mistakes Every Housebuyer Should Avoid
Deadly Mistake #1
Thinking you can’t afford it.
Today, buying the home of your dreams is easier than ever before. Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own new home.
Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, most American and Canadian home owners would be financially broke at retirement if it wasn’t for one saving grace – the equity in their home. Furthermore, mortgage rates are more flexible today than ever and tax allowances favor home ownership.
Real estate values have always risen steadily. Of course there are peaks and valleys, but the long term trend is a consistent increase. This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases. This owe less – worth more situation is called equity build-up and is the reason you can’t afford not to buy.
Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home. It just comes down to knowing the right strategies, and working with the right people.
Deadly Mistake #2
Not having a Real Estate agent to represent you.
Buying property is a complex and stressful task. In fact, it is often the biggest single investment you will make in your lifetime. At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated. New technology, laws, procedures and competition from other buyers require Real Estate agents to perform at an ever increasing level of professionalism. For many homebuyers, the process turns into a terrible, stressful ordeal. In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars. It does not have to be this way!
Work with a Real Estate agent who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and who is on your side. Real Estate agents have a fiduciary duty to you. That means they are loyal to only you and are obligated to look out for your best interests. Real Estate agents can help you find the best home, the best lender and the best inspector. Best of all, in most cases, the Real Estate agent is paid out of the seller’s commission, even though he/she works for you.
Trying to buy a home without an agent at all is, well… unthinkable.
Deadly Mistake #3
Getting a cheap inspection.
Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make. This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection. The cost of a home inspection is very small relative to the home being inspected. The additional cost of hiring a certified inspector is almost insignificant. As a homebuyer, you have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages and trying to get the best deals. Do not stop now. Do not let your Real Estate agent, a patty-cake inspector or anyone else talk you into skimping here.
NACHI front-ends its membership requirements. NACHI turns down more than 1/2 the inspectors who want to join because they can’t fulfill the membership requirements.
NACHI certified inspectors perform the best inspections by far. NACHI certified inspectors earn their fees many times over. They do more, they deserve more, and yes they generally charge a little more. Do yourself a favor…and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.
For the best inspector in your neighborhood visit: www.InspectorSEEK.com
More past-client referrals.
You found them a good home. Now don’t find them a cheap inspector. Keep your buyers happy after the closing. Use NACHI certified home inspectors.
Blame the agent! That’s what happens when your inspector finds defects that really don’t exist, or worse… misses defects that really do exist. Keep your clients happy after the closing by encouraging them to use a NACHI certified home inspector. All NACHI inspectors have to pass NACHI’s Inspector Exam every year, complete an Ethics Obstacle Course, take a Standards of Practice Course & Quiz, take a roofing course, fulfill Continuing Education requirements (24 hours/year), have access to advisory boards, and have access to a time-tested agreement which includes a real estate agent hold harmless clause, keeping them and you out of court.
Don’t hurt your own clients and your own referral business with an uncertified inspector. Do yourself and your client a favor… use only NACHI certified home inspectors. NACHI, the best home inspectors in the world.
National Association of Certified Home Inspectors www.InspectorSEEK.com