Scrutinizing Your Real Estate Inspector
Home inspections are increasingly becoming a standard part of the real estate process and are included in many offers as a contingency. These inspections can help a seller know what might come up as an issue during the negotiation stage of an offer and help buyers protect themselves as they make a significant investment in a particular piece of real estate.
Of course, the first step in getting an inspection done is finding an inspector, which is not always a self-explanatory process. While it can seem like a difficult exercise to determine between one inspector and another, there are some things that you can look out for when picking an inspector to make sure that you get a high-quality, accurate inspection when the time comes.
The best way to find an inspector is through word of mouth. If a friend you know has recently sold or purchased a property, ask about the inspection. Nothing speaks more accurately to the ability of an inspector than a personal account from someone that has seen that inspector in action.
A friend can be just as valuable if they have had a negative experience with a particular inspector as well. Not only can you avoid that particular inspector, but your friend can clue you in on some things to look for in order to avoid the same kinds of problems. The inspection process is foreign to most people, so having a friend whose brain you can pick with a few targeted questions about the process can be invaluable as you go through the process of buying or selling a home.
Do Some Background Checking
Not every area of the country licenses home inspectors, leaving some uncertainty when it comes to the track record and educational background of some inspectors. To take the place of that type of license, most inspectors belong to a professional organization for inspectors. As you speak with inspectors you are considering, be sure to ask whether they are in any professional organizations and how long they have been a member.
In addition, inspectors typically carry insurance for mistakes that they might make on the job. Be sure to ask whether the inspector you are interviewing has this insurance and be sure to ask for a copy. While this is largely standard in the industry, it is not a universal truth. An inspector that protects themselves also protects you when it comes to landing a high-quality inspector.
Sample the Goods
One step that relatively few people take is looking over a sample of the type of report the inspector typically completes. By looking at this sample, you can get an idea of the thoroughness of the inspector and what parts of the home the inspector typically spends the most time on. While it may make sense that these reports follow an accepted form, they typically don’t.
Inspectors can vary greatly in the reports that they submit and an inspector who provides a high level of detail is typically more qualified than one that simply says whether a particular component works or not. A more thorough inspector will help you truly understand the issues with your property and you will be better prepared to discuss the state of your home when it comes time to negotiate a sale.
While it may seem like one inspector is no different from another, inspectors vary greatly just as workers in any other profession do. By asking some targeted questions and looking over a sample report, you can separate the high-quality inspectors from the lackluster ones. An experienced, professional, highly proficient inspector will give you a better inspection, help you better understand the state of your home, and ultimately put you on the track for a more successful transaction.