Buying and moving into a new home is one of life’s great experiences, especially if you’re buying your first home. From getting that pre-approval to the “yes!” response on an offer to closing and moving in, every step is exciting. And while the process is engaging and fun, it’s important to prepare for moving day […]
How to select the right home inspector
Buying a home can be an exciting, joyous and stressful experience. Every buyer wants to find the ideal home, one that meets their needs, is in the right location, with the right features and that represents a solid investment.
Closing on that home, moving in and finding out the neighbors are wonderful people, or that the neighborhood school is even better than expected are nice surprises.
Discovering extensive cracks in the concrete foundation behind the drywall of the finished basement or complex electrical issues in the new home are not nice surprises.
That’s why professional home inspectors carefully examine homes about to be sold. These inspectors are in most cases, highly trained in their work, and act in the best interest of the buyer. In short, their job is to ensure the buyer doesn’t get any bad surprises days, weeks, months or even years after closing on the purchase of their home.
With this in mind, selecting the right home inspector is crucial. However, buying a home is probably a rather rare event for most people, so finding a top-notch home inspector is no easy task.
If you’re in the market for a home, or if you’re ready to make an offer on one, here are seven things to keep in mind when choosing a home inspector:
1) Look for a home inspector with excellent communication skills and a personality compatible with your own
The purchase of your home may be the largest of your lifetime. Getting a crystal clear picture of the exact state of your new home is crucial. This means having clear, effective communication with your inspector is a must. Your relationship with the inspector must be open and positive.
2) Get home inspector referrals from trusted friends, relatives and co-workers
Talk to people you know and trust who have recently purchased homes and take their experiences – good and bad – with home inspectors into account. Also, make use of readily available reviews and ratings on sites such as Yelp, Angie and HomeAdvisor.
3) Think twice about your realtor’s home inspector recommendations
Understand that while you may trust your realtor, his or her objective is to close the deal. So there may be some incentive to avoid inspectors who will nitpick every aspect of a home and produce a report with pages of negative findings, which can jeopardize the deal.
4) Look for certifications and membership in professional organizations
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the largest professional organization of home inspectors in the U.S. The organization supports professional development of members, has an online referral service for home buyers, and offers a rigorous National Home Inspector Examination, an in-person certification program. Successful candidates must pass the exam and provide documentation of having completed a minimum of 250 home inspections.
5) Look for additional accreditation
Many home inspectors hold an architect’s and/or home engineer’s license. While not “must have” credentials, if you are purchasing an older home or one with a history of, for example, foundation problems, hiring an inspector with these extensive certifications can be a good idea.
6) Ask about technology
As with nearly every profession, new technology has transformed the work of home inspectors. Today, many home inspectors use drones to examine roofs, gutters and chimneys. Infrared cameras can be used to examine walls, ceilings and floors, uncovering slight temperature variations that can be indicators of moisture.
7) Consider a home inspector’s price to be an investment
It may be tempting to save a few dollars by hiring a low-priced home inspector, but as is so often the case, you get what you pay for. Hiring an experienced, certified and exacting home inspector may be a pricier choice, but that inspector may uncover hidden issues with your prospective home a lower-priced, less effective inspector may overlook. And those issues can eventually cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars down the road.
The bottom line is if you’re preparing to purchase a home, the home inspector you hire can be the difference between buying the home of your dreams or buying someone else’s headache.
The loan officers at SmartMortgage have experience in supporting countless buyers from application to closing and are ready to help you. Contact us today and get the professional advice and service you need