Elite Home Inspections: Tips on Hiring a Professional Inspector

Elite home inspections are called as such because they are conducted by trained and certified inspectors, not just by your local handyman or carpenter. Their knowledge surpasses that of assessing the conditions the different parts of the home, but also extends to knowledge of certain laws and regulations pertaining to building codes. Their overall inspection will help you as a homeowner decide whether you should buy the property or not. Even though there really is no house that can be deemed perfect, any buyer would definitely want one that has the least repair needs.

If you or any of your friends are in the process of buying a house, you may want to make use of the following tips when looking for a certified inspector.

Experience

No one becomes an expert on elite home inspections overnight. It takes years of experience and highly specialized training. Therefore, the first thing you should check is the how many years the inspector has been inspecting homes. The inspector assigned to your property should have experience with your type of home. Are you buying a single family residence or is it a condominium? Perhaps you are looking at a mobile home or manufactured property. Ask the inspector to provide you with a sample report of the same type of home that they have inspected in the past.

Certifications, Credentials, and Licenses

When speaking with a home inspection company, always ask for copies of their certifications and licenses. Anyone can claim that they are a certified inspector, but if there are no documents to back that up, then be wary. You can also check if they belong to a local home inspection association. These associations require inspectors to maintain a working knowledge of the latest building code. By testing their members regularly on industry standards homeowners are more likely to receive an inspector who knows what they are talking about and what to look for when inspecting properties of all types.

Sample of Report and Inspection Checklist

The reports made after elite home inspections often consist of 40 or more pages. This is because inspectors make sure that every detail is recorded for the future homeowner’s benefit. If the sample given to you has less than ten pages in it, then consider that as a red flag. Chances are, their inspectors do their jobs in a hurry and are not very detailed in their observations. To probe further, ask for a copy of the inspection checklist. It should include structural and mechanical components of the home. The plumbing system and electrical wirings should be there. Make sure they will be providing a mold inspection and termite inspection as part of their elite home inspection services.

Length of Inspection

When the inspector comes to your home, ask how long it would take him to do the job. This will vary depending on the size of the home, but it should at least take about three to four hours. If the inspector is done after an hour then you should be concerned because he may have done it in haste and has likely overlooked some defects. We have even heard of some companies doing “drive-by” inspections. Ideally you will want to be present at the inspection to avoid this scenario.

Communication

During the hiring process, select an inspector that communicates well. After all you are going to have many questions so you will want someone who responds professionally and knows how to articulate your homes issues. If it takes them several days to answer a simple query, then they may be as slow in providing you with the results later on or with accommodating your complaints, if you ever have one. Efficient property inspectors can often provide a report the day of the inspection.

Warranty

Finally, a good home inspection service must offer a warranty to the client. This warranty can be valid for 30, 60, or 90 days and, obviously, the lengthier the better. This will ensure that the inspector did his job seriously or he will be liable for any repairs that will transpire due to damages that he failed to report. These inspectors usually have an error and omission insurance that will cover this, although some will ask the client to sign a waiver to limit their liability. For your protection and to ensure that you are getting good value for the service that you hired, go with the inspection company that offers the best warranty.

Use these tips when you are looking for companies that will provide elite home inspections for you or for the people you know. This guide is a surefire way to ensure that you get the best professional out there.

Some Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

Homebuyers want home inspection tips as they consider making a large financial investment. Tips about home inspection are especially valuable for those who have not purchased a house before. This article is intended to provide such readers the most important pointers to follow so that the real estate buying process is not so overwhelming.

The home inspection tips contained herein address three primary concerns, namely, how to select a home inspector, how to ensure you get the inspection you want and need, and how to get the most benefit out of the inspection report. These pointers apply whether or not you are working with a real estate agent. In fact, if you are working with an agent, these tips will help you get more involved so that the agent doesn’t make all or even some decisions unilaterally.

Our first tip is to consider why you should have the house you plan to buy inspected. There are various motives or reasons for doing so, the most common of which is to avoid buying a money pit. Sometimes the lender requires an inspection, and in general it’s a good idea to discover what may need to be remedied prior to closing. Also, though at one time a home warranty policy was commonly incorporated into the purchase agreement (perhaps seller and buyer sharing the cost), today the home inspection is in essence the only step taken to protect one’s investment.

But this makes it all the more important to get a report that covers all the bases and serves as a kind of owner’s manual to help you get acquainted to your new residence. Unfortunately, too often the inspection is somewhat rushed or even cursory. Minor problems might get glossed over and occasionally a serious major defect is missed. In such a case, if damages occur down the road, the buyer has some recourse by filing a claim, assuming the inspector is bonded. But the liability may be limited to the price of the inspection.

So our second tip is to find a home inspector who is thorough and who writes a complete report that puts everything he finds in proper perspective. If something is wrong, it is important to know what the implications are, just how serious the problem is, and how necessary it is to fix it.

To accomplish this, your inspector should not be too beholden to the real estate agent. If his primary goal is to please the agent (so he can continue to get referrals), he may take shortcuts. (Agents in general prefer quick inspections and summarized findings of major issues only.)

Don’t ignore or discount an inspector referral from your agent, but ask for more than one name and research them. (Most inspectors have a website with sample reports, and you may find there or elsewhere reviews or client testimonials appraising their work.) Be sure you are going to get the kind of home inspection you want before choosing the inspector.

Our third tip builds on the first two and is similar to them. The first tip was the why, whereas the second advises care in determining who inspects the house and how it is inspected. This next tip advises taking care to establish what is inspected.

A number of things can cause an inspector to exclude items from the inspection. Examples are Standards of Practice, his contract, the utilities not being on, inaccessibility due to blocking objects or locked doors, and dangerous situations. Some of these things are under the inspector’s control, some are not, but he is not liable for unintended exclusions and will charge the same fee despite them.

Thus, we recommend reviewing the contract carefully, identifying normally excluded items you want included and possibly normally included items you don’t care about. Also, be sure that lender requirements and constraints will be accommodated. Discuss changes to the list of exclusions and inclusions with the inspector, potentially negotiating a reduced inspection fee.

Then, we advise leaving as little to chance as possible. Ask the inspector what his expectations are to ensure that all inclusions are actually inspected. Relay this information to your real estate agent, who is responsible for seeing that the expectations are met by making arrangements with the owner via the owner’s listing agent. Now, any unintended exclusions that arise would suggest a deliberately uncooperative seller.

Our fourth tip is to get maximum leverage out of the inspection report. Study all findings in the body, not just the major items listed in the summary. If you followed our second tip faithfully, there should be nothing unclear, vague, or out of context. Even so, don’t hesitate to ask the inspector for explanations or elaborations, who should be more than willing to comply.

Some findings may be purely informational and not defects. Some defects may be more or less trivial and not worth pursuing. Serious problems can be addressed in three different ways: as deal breakers, causing you to withdraw your offer; as things you want the seller to remedy prior to closing at his expense; or as conditions you will accept possibly with some form of compensation such as reduced sales price.

We advise against sharing the inspection report with the seller or listing agent. You have paid for it and it belongs to you. The lender may require a copy, but you may request him to keep it confidential. Simply work up a brief contract addendum with your agent covering items falling into the last two categories mentioned in the previous paragraph.

By following these home inspection tips, you stand the best chance of minimizing if not eliminating home-buying surprises.

4 Home Inspection Tips for a Buyer’s Peace of Mind

Buying a home is a major event for most people. Since we do it so infrequently, there are many facets of the process which are not familiar to the average buyer. One very important aspect of the home buying process is getting a professional home inspection.

Home inspections can uncover hidden flaws an untrained person would not notice. Sometimes the inspectors discover defects that could cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to correct. Even when they discover minor flaws, you can add to your contract that the seller will correct them. Alternatively, you will have some ammunition to possibly negotiate a lower price. Here are a few inspection tips:

Home Inspection Tip No. 1

Be sure to select an inspector who has had training and a lot of experience in inspection. An experienced inspector will be familiar with good construction methods, and will recognize any visible defects in the structure, or in the installation of ancillary systems such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. He or she will likely be aware of current recalls of various appliances and what options are available to owners.

Home Inspection Tip No. 2

Choose an inspector from the local area. An inspector from the area will be familiar with local building codes. He or she will also be familiar with common problems associated with the neighborhood, and with individual home builders in the area.

Home Inspection Tip No. 3

Be sure you are present and tag along with the inspector while he or she inspects your potential purchase. Most inspectors prefer you to be there so they can point out specific defects, as well as the good features of your prospective purchase. This will give you a much better understanding of the items in his or her report. Ask questions about anything you see or don’t understand.

Home Inspection Tip No. 4

Don’t plan on doing your own inspection. There are hundreds of items that need to be inspected. Without formal training or years in the home construction trades, the average person will not be able to recognize many potential defects. A professional home inspection only costs a few hundred dollars to protect your investment of more than 500 times as much. This is no time to be penny wise and pound foolish.

You will get an unbiased evaluation from your inspector. You should expect to get a detailed report, with a description of both good and bad findings, along with appropriate diagrams and photos as necessary to document those findings.

Following the tips above will make you aware of any potential problems, and allow you to proceed with your transaction with the confidence that you are buying a sound property, or will be once any potential defects are addressed. A thorough inspection takes the emotion out of the equation, and gives you peace of mind knowing you are making your decision based on the facts.