Finding a Home Inspector
To find a home inspector, reach out to your friends or family members or speak with your broker for recommendations. Make sure the inspector is qualified and if your state requires it, certified.
Membership in an organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors is also a good indication of their professionalism.
Before hiring an inspector, ask them about their experience and whether or not they’re familiar with your type of home. Ask them what they will be looking for and what information you can expect their report to contain.
What the Inspector Should Look At
The home’s structure and internal systems, including:
- ⬥ heating and cooling (HVAC)
- ⬥ electrical
- ⬥ plumbing
- ⬥ radon detection equipment (if applicable)
- ⬥ foundation
- ⬥ basement
- ⬥ attic
- ⬥ insulation
- ⬥ walls, ceiling, and floors
- ⬥ windows and doors
- ⬥ roofing
An inspection can give you an overall picture of the home’s condition, however, it may not reveal hidden flaws such as termite infestation, mold or asbestos.
These kinds of issues would require inspection by other professionals such as a pest and/or mold inspector.
It also won’t reveal any issues with the home’s well or septic.
It’s important that you try to be on site when the inspection is happening. Follow behind the inspector to ask questions to help you learn more about the home that may be yours so you understand how to address any issues the inspector finds.
However, act as an observer only…don’t test anything yourself or it might alter the results of the inspection.
Don’t be surprised if the inspector provides a long list of deficiencies.
Since the report will be highly detailed, most of the issues will be relatively small and minor and will be things you can likely address yourself.
In addition to the problems or issues discovered, the report should also note how severe the issues are and give an estimate of the cost to repair the problems. This information can give you bargaining power when you put in your offer.
If the problems are more severe than you feel comfortable dealing with you can either back out of the purchase, have the seller make the repairs or make a lower offer.
It’s important to remember that a home inspection is simply a snapshot of a home’s condition at a point in time. The inspection will simply be a useful barometer of what you can expect to face during your initial years of owning the home.
If you know what to expect you can plan to address any issues (e.g. roof with a limited life span) on your schedule, rather than deal with an emergency repair that could have been prevented, such as a leaky roof.