How to Find a Credible Home Inspector
Whether you’re buying or selling a house or taking out a second mortgage, you want to be sure you choose a good home inspector for the task. Buying and selling homes is a huge financial exchange; a home inspector ensures you get the most for your money without any nasty surprises. Here’s a look at how to find a credible home inspector.
Individual or Conglomerate?
One of the first things to consider is whether you want to opt for a single-person home inspection company or a company that offers several different inspectors. There are pros and cons for both options, and it depends on what you’re looking for. A single inspector may not have experience in the type of home you need inspected, while a company can choose an inspector that will suit you better. In either case, it’s important to shop around.
Family and friends are great places to find good home inspectors. Your neighbors can probably point you in the direction of a good home inspector or steer you away from someone who did a truly horrible job. But word of mouth isn’t as popular as it used to be; check out Zillow, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Google, Yelp, and the myriad other sites dedicated to real estate needs and business reviews in your area.
The American Society of Home Inspectors is an organization of home inspectors that can help you find qualified individuals in your area. To be ASHI certified the home inspector has passed national and state examination, as well as meeting ASHI’s other requirements. ASHI is a great resource for figuring out what you need for your home inspection. This is particularly great if your state is one of the 20 that doesn’t require licensing.
If your state requires home inspectors to be licensed (and more than half do, so the odds are good. See a list of these states here), you of course want to make sure you choose one that is licensed. Not only can you ask for the inspector of your choice, you can call your state’s agency to make sure they’re registered and if there have been complaints filed against them.
Aspects of Inspectors
Aside from licenses and good reviews, there are a lot of other things you want to consider about the person you’re going to hire and then base all of your updates and remodels on. How long have they been doing this? How many inspections have they done? What do their reports look like? Ask for a sample of a report, and make sure it explains what you need it to.
Real estate agents are not allowed to recommend home inspectors, so be sure your inspector has no ties to your agent. Inspectors should have errors and omissions insurance and general knowledge of all the different things they’re going to look at—not just a lot about plumbing and a vague idea about everything else.