The Ins and Outs of Home Inspections

Buying a home? Then you need a home inspection! Whether it’s a new build or an older home, it pays in the long run to hire a professional inspector to give the house a once-over. You never know what issues may come up, and an experienced inspector can identify future potential problems, allowing you to plan for later.

But maybe you’re selling your home and you want to fix some things up before you place the home on the market. Hiring a home inspector who can pinpoint issues that you might not have come across can help you determine what to tackle before opening your home to potential buyers.

Every buyer or seller should consider the following as he or she interviews home inspectors:

What are the qualifications of the home inspector?

  • What kind of training did the home inspector go through?
  • How many years’ experience does the home inspector have in this field?
  • Does the home inspector have previous work experience that relates to this field (for example, construction or maintenance)?
  • Is the inspector a member of an organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) that demonstrates his interest in professional and ethical standards?

What kind of report will the home inspector provide?

  • Ask to see a sample report. Is the report written out in narrative form, or is it a checklist?
  • Ask if the home inspector sticks to reporting the legal minimum, or if he/she will point out any additional observations made.

What type of references does the home inspector provide?

  • Ask for previous customers’ names and phone numbers. Then call those customers and ask if they felt their home inspection reports were satisfactory.

Does the home inspector have insurance?

  • A home inspector should have errors and omissions insurance Is the home inspector someone who is easy to communicate with?
  • The buyer should have a certain comfort level and ease of communication with the home inspector.

What will the home inspection cost?

  • While rates are around $ 300 for an average sized home in the Phoenix, AZ area, a buyer may compare rates by evaluating the services a home inspector provides. For example, time spent on inspection, information provided on the report, etc.

Become A Sponge!
Whether you know a lot about home construction and maintenance or not, you’ll want to listen carefully to what your home inspector reports. If at all possible, be present for the inspection itself. The inspection can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hours, so make sure you are flexible on time. Take notes. Ask questions immediately, or write them down so you can ask them at the end of the inspection. Soak up everything the inspector says.

At the end of the inspection, the inspector should provide a printed report. If the inspector has the technology at his fingertips, this report will be provided to you immediately following the inspection. If not, then expect the written report within 24 hours. Look over that written report closely to make sure that you understand what it says. If you don’t understand or don’t agree with an item, point this out to the inspector. You should feel completely comfortable with the report, whether or not it has favorable things to say about the home you are buying or selling.

Need Expert Advice?
While most home inspectors are good at what they do and have a background in some aspect of home construction, they are not experts on certain elements, such as plumbing or electric, unless they have the official designations saying as such. The home inspector is there to give an overall, generalized view of the condition of the home, not in-depth coverage of every aspect of the property.

If the report brings up issues that you and the other party dispute, think about getting a second opinion before ditching the deal. In a recent deal, the home inspector made references to the roof of a property having multiple issues that needed to be corrected immediately. The buyers became concerned. However, the seller was positive that the roof was in very good shape. A certified roof inspector was called out and agreed with the seller – the roof was in great shape and there was no need to worry. A deal that was about to fall apart was held together with a second, more expert opinion.

Getting a professional opinion on the condition of the property you are selling or buying is more than helpful. It can help you avoid pitfalls throughout the buying/selling process. Just make sure that professional opinion is one you can trust!

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