Once you have selected your dream home; how do you find the right home inspector to investigate your future home and investment? In the selection process; there are seven critical questions you should ask a home inspector.
1. Is the home inspector licensed by the state or approved agency? Many states require a home inspector to obtain a state license to inspect homes. If you are obtaining financing through a government program, VA, HUD, or FHA; that agency may also require an additional certification or approval for the home inspector. You should verify the license with your state or agency prior to contracting the home inspector.
2. What is the inspector’s background and certifications? The inspector’s background certifications are critical to their understanding of building technologies. Your inspector should have a basic knowledge of the construction process to thoroughly evaluate the property being inspected. The inspector should be able to determine whether a crack is structural or cosmetic based on their knowledge of the buildings obscured structure that lies beneath the drywall. Has the inspector stayed current on modern building technologies and what certifications have they completed? Home inspector organizations, like National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), require inspectors to stay current and take continuing education units (CEUs) that often exceed state requirements. Ask if they are a member of a national organization.
3. How many years has the company been in business? Has the company met the requirements to stay in business and are they current with modern building technologies.
4. Ask how many inspections a day does the inspector complete? Is the inspector working for your best interests or his? One or two is the answer you are looking for. If the inspector is completing three or more, it is likely they are cutting corners to complete all the inspections.
5. How much time is spent at an inspection? This number should vary based on the size of a home. The basic number you are looking for is 1 hour per 1000 square feet. If the inspector is inspecting a 3,500 sq. ft. home in less than 3½ hours on site, they are most likely not the best inspector for your family. This time should not include the completion of the written report.
6. Written Report, How Long? How many Photos? There are many styles of written reports, which will be determined by the preference of the inspector. That being said, style is not as important as content. There should be at least one summary page, one page per system (7) and one page per room. A typical 3 bedroom, 2 bath, and two car garage should have a minimum of 20 pages excluding photos. Photos again may be a personal preference but should include at least one per deficiency noted in the report. The minimum number is 15-20, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, 20-30 is better.
7. Does the Inspection Company and the Inspector carry insurance? Who would the courts consider liable for damage to the property during the time of the inspection? What type of insurance do they carry and what is the liability amount of the insurance? Many states require an inspector carry minimum liability insurance, but would it cover full damages to the property in the worst case scenario?When purchasing your home, you may not have to be an expert on the home, but you should have a knowledgeable inspector on your side. You should feel secure in the knowledge that your family and your investments are safe. Choose wisely, when selecting a home inspector and never put your family’s safety at risk by waiving the inspection. Never select an inspection company based on price or how quick they can complete an inspection. One item found by a competent inspector can save you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.
Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties. Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.