The purchase of a home is likely the largest financial expenditure you’ll ever make. And getting your home inspected is an essential step in the home-buying process. No one wants to buy a money pit — and once you have signed on the dotted line, there is no turning back.
The best way to ensure you use a professional home inspector is to seek referrals from your mortgage professional, real estate agent or friends. Since you want to be able to trust your home inspector’s judgement, you have to ensure they’re not part-time home inspectors just trying to make some extra cash on the side, or they aren’t only home inspecting so they can also offer to complete any work for you that you need done on the home. To ensure the job’s done right, after all, the home inspection must not be biased.
The purpose of a home inspection is for the inspector to be able to tell you everything you need to know about the home you’re going to purchase so that you can make an informed decision.
Following are 10 key questions you can ask your home inspector before they’re hired to ensure the inspection will be completed professionally and thoroughly:
•Can I see your licence/professional credentials and proof of insurance?
•How many years’ experience do you have as a home inspector? (Make sure they’re talking specifically about home inspection and not just how much experience they have in a single trade.)
•How many inspections have you personally completed?
•What qualifications and training do you have? Are you a member of a professional organization? What’s your background — construction, engineering, plumbing, etc.?
•Can I see some references? (Make sure you also check the references.)
•What kind of report do you provide? Do you take pictures of the house and add them to your report?
•What kind of tools do you use during your inspection?
•Can you give me an idea of what kind of repairs the house may need? (Be wary if they offer to fix the issues themselves or can recommend someone else to complete the job cheap.)
•When do you do the inspection? (Let’s hope they don’t have a day job and can only do them at night when it’s too dark to see the roof. It’s best to stay away from part-time inspectors.)
•How long do your inspections usually take?
Remember that the inspection condition is written into the real estate contract for your benefit. This is an opportunity to get insight into problems that might not be visible to the untrained eye. After all, your home is probably one of the biggest purchases you will ever make, so you want to make sure there are no hidden surprises! So I hope these questions help you to pick a home inspector that you are confident will do a great job for you.
Dean Bala is a mortgage broker and Realtor working out of the Creston Valley Realty office in Creston.