Selecting your inspector is an important decision.
FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE THE INSPECTION
1. Do you have formal training as a home inspector?
Ask to see certificates of completion from a reputable home inspection training school.
2. Are you a member of a professional association?
Membership in an appropriate association, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) ensures that inspectors have passed competency examinations, adhere to recognized standards of practice, operate under a strict code of ethics, and maintain continuing education in their field.
3. Are you backed by a company with a professional reputation?
Asking to see proof of insurance is also recommended.
4. Are you a full-time home inspector?
Just as there are very few part-time astrophysicists, inspectors who do home inspections as a "sideline" may not be truly dedicated. And anyone who offers to repair discovered conditions is clearly nonobjective.
5. May my representatives and I attend the inspection?
Good inspectors encourage their clients to participate in the inspection.
Five Questions to Ask During the Inspection
Good inspectors will provide a quality report, but the actual inspection is a great opportunity to ask questions and understand the scope of their work.
1. Please describe the condition of the roof. What is the typical life cycle of this material, and what type of maintenance is recommended?
A roof is one of the more expensive components associated with home ownership. Be sure you have a clear picture of its present condition, a general idea of the remaining service life, and the steps you should take to preserve your investment.
2. Are there any areas that may be considered deficient, according to the local standards?
3. Are there any safety issues? Nonfunctional systems?
Safety is the first concern of any occupant.
4. Should I seek the advice of a specialist, and how much will this cost?
Much like a family doctor, the home inspector performs a general examination and may then recommend further evaluation by a specialist for particular areas of concern. Be sure you have a clear understanding of any areas requiring further evaluation. Inspectors are often asked, "How much will this cost?" While many inspectors have a rough idea of materials and labor costs, they will not be the individuals performing the work, so the client is better served by gathering multiple estimates from the technicians who actually perform the work.
5. How will I see this condition noted in the report, and can I call you?
Good inspectors provide detailed, easy to read (preferably typewritten or computer generated) reports. When the inspector mentions something on site, be sure to ask him or her where that information will show up in the report. Also, your inspector should provide a summary of the more important issues.
Home inspection is a service business. Be sure your inspector will be available for questions after you receive the report. You may also want to consider having your inspector return to the property on an annual basis, just like getting an annual physical. Inspectors can provide updated information and alert you to any new developments.