How do I choose a Home Inspector and what makes for a Good Home Inspection?
There are so many home inspectors! Honestly, it can be overwhelming to select one. And they vary wildly when it comes to cost, options, and extras. This is where my experience and expertise can help you. First, understand that it is unethical (and illegal) for me to get paid by any providers – inspectors, lenders, insurance agents – any of them – if I send them clients, so you don’t need to worry that when I recommend people I do so with any motive other than this: I refer people I have come to trust. What I look for in an inspector is that they are:
- not upcharging you inappropriately
I want to talk more about these because they matter a lot to me! Your inspector should talk to you as you tour the home. He or she should provide you with routine maintenance and home care tips beyond just what you need to have fixed before you buy the home. The report should be thorough, intelligent, organized, and easy to read. The report should help us in making our case when we write our inspection response. The report should be back to us quickly so we have time to study it and decide what our needs and wants are and to talk through the differences. It should be clear up front what upcharges might come and you should be fairly charged. Finally, the inspector should be knowledgeable in all aspects of the home (sometimes various inspectors have “pet areas” but may not know as much about other parts of the home) and should also know enough about real estate transactions to be helpful to us in what they write and how they write it. Those are my basic expectations, but they make for a very high quality inspector.
How much will a good home inspection cost me?
This will be wide ranging. Most inspectors will charge based on your square footage but there will also be added services and upcharges to discuss – things like a pool inspection, septic inspection, water inspection, termite report, or radon test are generally separate from the basic charge. We will talk about that. Which of these you may benefit from will depend on the property you are evaluating and also your own level of risk aversion. By the time we are having this conversation I should know you pretty well so we can talk through each add-on before you decide. And I always suggest that you talk with at least 2 inspectors so you know the possibilities and the range of prices. The final decision is entirely yours but I will help you know what your options are and provide my expertise and advice as you choose.
Should I be present for the inspection?
Absolutely. The inspector will talk to you about various items and aspects of your potential new home throughout his inspection. The report will deal with deficits and will have suggestions for maintenance too but you miss a ton of free information if you don’t walk through with the inspector. This is also another chance to be in the home to further familiarize yourself with the floor plan, to think about what updates or decorating changes you may want to make, and to measure rooms again if you’ve been wondering if your furniture will fit, etc.
What about all the extra things that can get inspected – should I do them all?
This depends on the style of the home, the age of the home, and the materials used in the construction. What a brick home with a basement may need will not be the same as a wood home built in 1890 may need. We will talk this through and your inspector can also advise you.
Once the inspection is complete, we will want to get together and talk through the full report when it is available, get expert advice if need be, then prepare out inspection response – which is a few steps away still. The inspection is a daunting experience for many people because the honest truth is that no house is perfect, but it is an essential tool in insuring that the home you buy is safe, healthy, and sound when it changes into your hands!
Questions? Get in touch with me and I’ll gladly talk with you more about these issues: