I’ve decided to get a home inspection before making an offer on a house. But how do I find a home inspector? Sure, I can Google it, but how do I know if I’m making a good choice- someone with a good reputation and plenty of experience? After a bit of investigation, here are some tips:
- Ask your real estate agent for recommendations. This is a controversial issue. On one hand, it makes sense that an experienced real estate agent would be familiar with reputable inspectors in the area. On the other hand, this could be a potential conflict of interest. It is the real estate agent’s job to close the sale. It is the inspector’s job to present an accurate and detailed report, which may include issues that could cause the seller to spend money on repairs or help the buyer to negotiate a lower price. I decided to ask for a recommendation from my realtor, but do my own research to make sure the inspector is trustworthy.
- Ask friends and family who have recently purchased a home. My mother was quite happy to tell me all about her recent inspection in detail and all the reasons she liked and did not like the inspector and the whole process. Although she lives in another city, Plant City FL, her experience gave me some idea of what to expect during the inspection process.
- Look at some trusted home service sites and other websites that may provide reviews and comments. I checked Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Yelp, and Google, for example. I also looked for any issues with the Better Business Bureau.
- Choose an inspector that is certified by one or more professional organizations. My state, Florida, regulates home inspectors by requiring state certification. However, many states do not. Check here to see if your state is regulated. Whether or not your state is included, a good inspector will also be certified by a national or international organization. Some of them include
- American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
- American Home Inspectors Training (AHIT)
- National Society of Home Inspectors (NSHI)
- National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers
- Ask for a sample report. I compared sample reports to make sure they included vital information, especially detailed explanations of any issues and photos of everything.
- Make sure the inspector has insurance. I discovered that inspectors should have a type of liability insurance called Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O), which is a type of professional liability insurance that protects companies, their workers, and other professionals against claims of inadequate work or negligent actions. Errors and Omissions insurance often covers both court costs and any settlements up to the amount specified by the insurance contract. This kind of liability insurance is generally required for professional advice-giving or service-providing businesses.
- Learn how inspections work. Besides my mother’s experience, I researched what happens at a typical inspection and also looked up top things that home inspectors look for.
- Be at the inspection. I plan to attend the inspection. Even though the inspection report will include photos, I’ll understand the report much better if I can see everything firsthand. I’m going to make sure that my inspector knows this ahead of time and schedules plenty of time for the inspection. A typical inspection should be 2-4 hours. I was a bit skeptical of one inspector who only wanted to schedule 60 minutes for the inspection.
Honestly, all this research was a bit tedious, but I didn’t want to deal with even bigger problems down the road. A little work up front could save me lots of grief and even money later if I have to get the inspection repeated because of shoddy work. Not to mention the headache of dealing with the incompetent inspection company. With my research, however, I’m confident I’m making a wise choice.
About the author
Rachelle is an author, blogger, content crafter and a savvy consumer.