5 questions to ask a home inspector
I read your "8
questions to ask home listing agents" piece and was wondering if you could
provide a similar list of questions to ask home inspectors. Thanks.
How about five questions with a few suggested follow-ups
and some assorted tips thrown in for good measure? (By the way, I'd be honored
to provide such a list to someone with such a distinguished first name.)
Let's inspect the inspector, shall we?
Here are a few questions
- How long have you
been in business and how many home inspections have you performed? To be
safe, stick with a full-time inspector who has been in the business for more than
five years. Also, ask about the inspector's professional certifications with nationally
recognized industry organizations. Tip: Interview at least three inspectors and
ask for a sample report and references from each.
you tell me exactly what will happen during the inspection? This will eliminate
any unpleasant surprises. Ask the inspector if you can follow him during the inspection.
(But promise to stay out of his way.). Tip: If the inspector is brief with you
in your phone interview or personal interview, he may be hurried in his work as
- What will be included in my report and what
type of format will you use for it? Too much information is never a problem
in an inspection report. Besides the action checklist he'll likely provide you,
make sure he will also provide a customized narrative on the condition of all
the home's major components and of areas that are in need of maintenance, plus
the estimated repair and replacement recommendations and costs that will be involved
if work is needed. The more that's spelled out for you, the better.
soon will I get my report? Expediency is important with so many dates and
deadlines to adhere to.
- If problems are found then
repaired, how quickly can you re-inspect the property so you can modify the original
report? If you're getting an inspection as a seller, your prime sales window
may close if too much time elapses.
A few other tips:
Don't feel inclined to go only with the cheapest price. A $50 savings might cost
you significantly more in oversights. Also, don't ask the inspector to assess
the value of the house or whether you should buy the property in question. Inspectors
are not allowed to offer such advice or information.
don't blindly hire an inspector that your agent recommends. Some agents view an
"overly thorough" inspector as a deterrent to a sale -- a deal-killer
if you will -- and the agent may not refer you to one with a reputation of meticulousness.
Do a little of your own homework before you get started.
The Web site HomeGauge.com
offers a list of home inspectors by state ranked from "Platinum" to
"Gold" to "Bronze" by their qualifications and professional
Other relevant home-inspection sites are www.nahi.org,
the site for the National Association of Home Inspectors; www.ashi.org,
the site for the American Society of Home Inspectors, and www.nachi.org,
the site for the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
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and select "buying, selling a home" as the topic.