Home inspections can be a very important and potentially revealing part of your home buying experience. If you aren’t buying something that you know is a fixer-upper, it’s important that you have all the facts about the home and its potential problems.
If you’re unlucky, you can find yourself with a home inspector who just wants to get the job done, not caring about inspecting very well. Or perhaps you find a home inspector at the other end of the spectrum–one who writes down every single tiny issue, scaring the buyers away from buying what was actually a great house.
However, if you find yourself a good inspector, he or she can save you time, money, and problems that could be much bigger in the future.
What do most home inspections cover?
Typically, home inspections will check out the structural integrity of the house, different cosmetic features, and any important mechanical systems. This includes heating and cooling systems, electrical, plumbing, built-in appliances, the foundation, insulation, ventilation, and more.
A thorough inspection looks for all of the basics in addition to leaks, typical insect infestation, unsafe wiring, mold and mildew, and any type of safety hazard.
It’s important that you get someone who is knowledgeable because home inspectors have to cover quite a bit of ground and have a lot of expertise. While it’s impossible to expect them to find every single potential problem, we can help you find the best possible inspector.
One thing to keep in mind is that, if you choose to check for termites, you’ll typically have to hire a different type of inspector who specializes in this.
The time and complexity of a home inspection is completely dependent on the house. Sometimes a home inspector can be in and out in a couple hours, whereas other times it can take half the day. For typical homes, they’ll usually cost from $300 to $800, but this can range depending on the structure and age of the house.
While this range is very wide and it is important to shop around to find the best price, make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality in this regard. Your home is likely the most expensive purchase in your lifetime. This means that if you need to spend an extra $100 for the home inspector with 10 more years of experience who comes highly recommended, you’re likely getting more bang for your buck.
After they’ve completed the job, the home inspector will give you a written report with photographs and descriptions of any issues they found. This way, you’ll be able to understand the damage and get repair estimates much easier.
Make sure that your home inspector offers a real, written report about the inspection with details specific about your home, not a simple one-size-fits-all checklist. The report will have a detailed picture of the house on the day they performed the inspection, itemizing each major component and its condition.
Then, it’ll include all items that are in need of typical maintenance or attention, making it so you can be proactive in your approach to home maintenance. After this, it’ll show you each item that needs major repairs. Oftentimes, the seller will pay for these items to be repaired.
How to find your home inspector
If you’re in East Tennessee, we at Priority Real Estate can give you great recommendations for expert home inspectors in our area.
Otherwise, you can check out a list of your local inspectors on the American Society of Home Inspectors website at www.ashi.org. Make sure you check for someone that isn’t just a specialist like a plumber but instead has a background in home inspections. If they have a background in building, this is a big plus.
Ask how long they’ve been in the business and if they can provide you with any references, and make sure to double check that they have a verified license with the state agency (if your state regulates inspectors).
If your state doesn’t regulate inspectors, try to see if they are on the ASHI’s website. Some other respectable organizations include the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO).
Of course, they don’t need to be a part of these organizations, but if they are, it can help you have some insight into their background and involvement.
Sometimes, inspectors can get certifications obtained through just a couple weeks of studying or even buy a certificate through trade organizations. That’s why it’s very important to learn about your inspector’s experience. There’s really no equivalent to years of experience inspecting homes.
Your inspector should have errors and omissions insurance and double check that their schedule can work with when you’d like to close on your house.
Another thing that you might want to take into consideration is the tools that your potential home inspector is planning on using. While it might be common for talented and experienced inspectors to bring almost nothing more than a flashlight, paper, and pencil to a home, there are many new technologies available today that can help them stay ahead of the curve.
Taking advantage of the best testing equipment available today means that they are likely dedicated to providing you with the best possible services, even if sometimes that can mean an investment in new technology.
This equipment can be anything from electronic carbon monoxide analyzers to moisture meters to electrical circuit analyzers. These tools are often necessary for making sure that your home is up to the standards that it should be reaching.
Finding a home inspector can be a daunting task. After all, they do need to know a lot about your future home. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your path to finding the best possible specialist for your home. Instead, if you’re in East Tennessee, give us a call at 865-577-6600 for the best recommendations.
Michele Karl is the Owner/Broker of Priority Real Estate. She can be reached at her email at [email protected] or give her a call at her office at 865-577-6600.