Financial May 31, 2019

Do Your Homework: Home Inspections

The last thing you want to end up with after purchasing your home is unanticipated costly renovations. That’s why home inspections are such an important part of the home buying process. Choosing an experienced home inspector can be tricky, so it’s important to consult with others to help you find a reliable inspector with good references.

Contact several local home inspectors and interview them in advance to determine their qualifications.

Questions to Ask

1. How long has the inspector been in the business with a home inspection firm?

2. Is the inspector specifically experienced in residential construction?

3. What does the inspection include? Inspections should include visual inspections covering exterior, structure, garage, plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical, and interior insulation and ventilation. Extras can include radon testing, a pest infestation survey or inspection of septic system or wells. The inspector should provide you with a written report.

4. How much will it cost? Determine fees up front. Inspections can cost as little as $200 to as much as $1,000, depending on the size of the home and which inspection services are requested.

5. How long will the inspection take? The time depends on the size and age of the home; typically inspections take 2 to 3 hours. Anything less than that isn’t enough time to do a thorough inspection.

6. Does the inspector encourage the client to attend the inspection? This is an educational opportunity, and if an inspector refuses, you may want to look for a different inspector.

7. Ask what educational and/or training facility the inspector attended. Does the inspector participate in continuing education programs to keep his/her expertise up to date? It’s okay to ask to see their papers.

8. Does the company offer to do any repairs or improvements based on its inspection? This might cause a conflict of interest, and it’s not recommended to deal with these firms.

9. Do they belong to an association that will investigate consumer complaints?

10. Do they carry errors or omission insurance?