It can be tempting to save money anywhere you can when purchasing a home. There are many things you can (and should) deal hunt on, a home inspector is not one of them. You might be thrilled to save a few bucks but speaking from experience, it’s better to hire a professional who will take their time and knows exactly what to look for. A cheap home inspector will not save you money in the long run.
The inspection should not be a painful process. It is meant to help you, the future homeowner, understand and address the home’s current issues. An experienced home inspector can identify even the smallest of problems and could save you thousands in the first few years of your home.
Here are a few questions you need to ask a home inspector:
Can I see a copy of a sample report?
Every trusted home inspector will be more than happy to email you a copy of his or her sample report. When you receive the report, check the length. If it’s only a few pages, do not hire them. Even for a small home or condo, comprehensive reports are 20-50 pages because they include photographs or videos showcasing the problems.
How long will the inspection take?
If your potential inspector says they will “do you a favor” and get it done in under an hour, walk away. If your inspector is going to test appliances, check for foundation cracks and so much more, it will take time. The average inspection takes 3-4 hours.
What are your credentials?
There are many home inspector associations so it is important to choose a certified inspector.
Can I attend the home inspection?
If you can make the schedule work, go to (at least part of) your home inspection. In the wise words of my home inspector, “You owe it to yourself to be at the inspection. Trust me, it will sound worse on the phone.” This time will allow you to see the issues in person and ask any questions you may have. Something that sounds major might be a quick and easy fix.
How much do you charge for a reinspection?
No matter how perfect the home, your inspector will find something. There is no such thing as a perfect home, even if it’s brand new. The question is, will they charge you to check if the problem has been fixed if the sellers claim to fix it themselves?
Buying a home is complicated enough. Take your time and find the right home inspector, it will pay off in the end.