Recently the US News and World Report published a fantastic article about hiring a Home Inspector, making the point when hunting for a home inspector, their fee should be your last question. You can read the article here.
I’d like to expand on their excellent points.
1. Do you perform repairs or just home inspections?
Under California law, and InterNACHI standards of practice, an inspector may NOT perform repairs on any building they inspect for a period of 12 months after the inspection. This is because, as the article states, providing both services could create a conflict of interest. At IM Home Inspections, I am a full time Inspector. So I fully agree with the article “Get the unbiased opinion first.”
2. Are you bonded and insured?
3. Can you provide references?
I can. Although I do value my clients privacy, so some many not wish to be contacted. Some Inspectors go as far as selling client’s emails to vendors. I do not. I believe in being discrete.
4. Can I tag along on the inspection?
Yes, please do. I have heard some inspectors say they feel a customer tagging along is a distraction. I welcome my clients to follow me, as I can point out what is and what is not an issue as I go. With the exception of the roof, due to safety issues. And be aware, if you plan on following me into the crawl space, you’ll want a change of clothes!
5. What does the inspection include?
Good question, as not all inspections are equal. I do check all major appliances for basic functionality. I also use a Thermal (Infrared) Camera, wifi camera for hard to reach spots, video camera, moisture meter and other tools that not every inspector carries with them.
6. Will you send me a sample inspection report?
Sample inspection reports are available upon request. Just ask me!
7. Do you have any special expertise?
I am a Certified Professional Inspector, and Certified Level 1 Thermographer. I speak house, and I speak it well.
8. How much do you charge?
As the article states, this should be the last question. A cheap inspector can cost you money because they may not have the education or tools to do a proper job. And because they are not getting paid much, they have little incentive to take the the time to do a proper inspection before they rush off to their next job.
Ask yourself, are you buying the cheapest house you can buy? Well, of course not, or else you would already know it’s falling apart. Do you drive a Yugo because it’s the cheapest car you can buy? Probably not, as you most likely spent a little more to get a car that is more reliable. So why hire the cheapest inspector when you are making what is most likely the largest purchase of your life?
Inspect it once, inspect it right. Anyone else is just looking around.