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How to Find a Qualified Home Inspector

Most states in the US offer little or no regulations for the home inspection industry. How do you find a qualified home inspector?

Ask for opinions.
Talk to friends who have had an inspection recently. Did their inspector do a good job? You can ask the inspector for references, too, but keep in mind they probably won't give you the names of unhappy clients.

If you are working with a real estate agent you trust, ask who they recommend. Agents deal with inspections every day. They know who the good inspectors are. The agent should give you at least three references--not steer you to one individual.

What does the inspection cover?

  • What systems are covered in the home inspection?
  • Are there some services that require an extra fee, such as a septic inspection? A septic report is required for FHA and VA financing. Doing it at the same time as the home inspection is usually less expensive than bringing the inspector back again later.
  • Will you be given a detailed report with photos of problem areas? It should include a checklist showing results for all systems evaluated. It should also include reports in paragraph form.
  • Ask for a time estimate. A thorough inspection can take 3-5 hours or more.

    Inspect the inspector.
    If statements in the appraisal or pest report cause the lender to ask for a structural inspection they will expect that inspection to be done by a licensed professional.

    Before you select an inspector find out what type of licensing the lender requires if a structural inspection is necessary. If your inspector qualifies, it may save you time and money since you won't have to hire a second person to verify structural integrity.

    Important questions

  • Where was the inspector trained?
  • Does he or she attend continuing education classes?
  • Does the inspector belong to a professional organization? If so, what are the requirements for membership? Entry should require more than just an application fee.
  • Does the inspector carry Errors & Omissions insurance? This type of malpractice insurance may come in handy if the inspector overlooks a major problem.

    On inspection day
    It's best if you attend the inspection youself. Inspectors report all defects they find, no matter how minor. Home buyers sometimes get excited about minor problems simply because they don't have an understanding of what's really wrong. Witnessing problems first-hand will give you a better grasp of what is and is not an issue.

    First Page > Do You Need a Home Inspection >

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