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Hiring a Home Inspector

April 03, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Cosy home
Buying a house is a huge investment, which means you need to check the property before you buy. You need to find an inspector that will assess the property properly.

You may want every single detail spelled out for you, but the home inspector is supposed to give you a general idea about the condition of the house. This overview of the property should be unbiased and as thorough as possible. But you must keep in mind that the inspector cannot give you detailed advice such as a builder or an engineer. One good aspect of the home inspector is the fact that whether or not you buy the property, he or she gets paid. This means that you are able to get truthful, open information no matter if you buy or pass.

Hiring a home inspector should not be an option for you, it should be mandatory. In fact, you should have a clause in your contract that if the inspection does not result in a satisfactory report, you are able to retract from closing. This prevents you from taking on a housing disaster.

Each inspector will charge a slightly different price. So, to get the best deal, compare rates and fees. With that being said, you might not want to go with the lowest price inspector, just because the money is low. You want to find a reputable inspector that is willing to give you a full review of the property in question. Also, a professional inspector should tell you what will be on the finished review.

The home inspection review should include the following:
  • A review of the exterior, including walls, decks, soffits, roof, drainage, and chimneys
  • A review of the interior, including windows, doors, electrical and plumbing
  • A review of the heating and cooling systems
  • A review of the basement, attic or crawl space. There should be information telling you if these areas are properly ventilated and insulated.

If you find that your potential inspector is not willing to review these areas, you should find one who will. Obviously this inspector is not worth your money.

The inspector will take only a visual inventory of problems. They are not allowed to take anything apart to give a more thorough review. This of course, means that some aspects of the house can be overlooked. An inspector can tell you that some roof work may need to be done, but he may not be able to assess how bad the situation is. This may call for roof samples during a more hands-on inspection. 

If you want to check for termites, or the condition of pools or septic tanks, you must get a specialized inspector that focuses on this type of review only. If your home inspector is qualified to look at the conditions of pools, he or she may opt to do so.

If appliances come with the home, you will need to get these checked as well, but your home inspector will not be able to complete this type of review.

To find a quality inspector, ask around. Your real estate agent may be able to send you in the right direction, but if the inspector is a friend of the real estate agent, the review may be a bit biased. It is probably best for you to do your own search on the Internet or by looking in the local yellow pages. When you do choose an inspector, make sure that the company is a part of the home inspector certification association. This will give you a better chance of finding an inspector that will work hard for you. Lastly, ask for references and make calls; former customers may be one of the best ways to understand the history of an inspector.

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