How to Know You’ve Found the Right Home Inspector

The importance of hiring a reliable home inspection is one of the bedrock principles every home buyer reads and hears about from all quarters. Any Realtor® worthy of the name will be able to recommend a home inspector with the kind of strong credentials that establish the validity of his or her report—it’s part of the full service a real estate professional brings to the process of buying a home.

The object of the inspection is, of course, to prevent the unexpected: repair bills that might otherwise go undetected until after the purchase. A good inspector finds problems before you close on a property. Although a home inspector’s fee may require an investment of a few hundred dollars, it’s certainly better than spending tens of thousands down the road.

A thorough inspection and the report that follows are what you are looking for—what earns a new home buyer peace of mind. And choosing the right candidate isn’t difficult, as long as you are willing to follow a few common sense procedures.  For instance, the written inspection report is an important part of the process, yet some inspectors wind up sending only a checklist. The best ones accompany that with their more detailed written observations. Before you commit, ask the candidate if you can see a sample of the kind of report that will be prepared.

It’s a very good idea for you to be present when the inspection is made—it’s a one-time chance to see for yourself some of the workings of the property from a professional’s point of view. A good inspector may suggest it…and certainly will not object when you invite yourself to the party. If he or she objects, my advice is to find someone else.

As with any other expert, check the candidate’s reputation online. The Better Business Bureau website, Angie’s List, Yelp, and all the other websites that post continuing reviews of professional service providers can supply good feedback. But again, be thorough: watch out for ‘paid’ ratings; check more than one source; and if a complaint is registered, be sure to bring it up when interviewing an otherwise-qualified candidate.

Home inspectors who are strongly tied to the business community, or who are involved in national-level home inspector organizations, have their reputations on the line with every inspection. These inspectors may provide higher quality service than others, and although choosing a leading home inspector may wind up costing a few dollars more, when you’re about to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a home, paying a bit extra is usually money well spent.

Whenever my clients ask for advice in choosing a home inspector, I supply a choice of several, along with what I have heard from other clients who have used them recently. It’s part of the service I’m pleased to offer—and another good reason to give me a call!

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