Houses for Sale

Do I Need A Home Inspection? How Do I Find A Reputable, Professional, And Licensed Home Inspector?

If you were in the process of buying or selling your home, let’s be abundantly clear from the beginning: You should definitely have your home inspected by a professional inspector.

In this article, we will take a look at why you should have a home inspected during any real estate transaction and how to find a licensed home inspector.

Why You Should Have a Home Inspected before Finalizing a Real Estate Transaction

A home inspection gives a clear assessment of a home and it’s current value. A professional and licensed home inspector will take the time to thoroughly inspect the home in property for any structural and aesthetic issues, code violations, and suggestions to repair the home.

Buyers of a property should always insist on having at home inspection performed before committing to a purchase. The reason for this is that when it becomes time to negotiate the final cost of the home, you can itemize every problem of the home and adjust the price according to estimates of the home versus what it takes to fully repair it. It’s also useful to have a home inspection to avoid any conflicts related to the buyer disclosing any problems with the home.

For a seller of a home, a home inspection can be performed before putting the home on the market or when you have an interested buyer. While many sellers may be reluctant to perform a home inspection as an additional cost, the truth of a home inspection is that it accurately assesses what’s wrong with a home. This can be extremely important, especially if a homebuyer discovers issues with the property afterwards. The home inspection can be used as a verification of your knowledge of the home’s current condition and may provide legal recourse if a homebuyer claims that you did not disclose these problems.

Be Wary of a Real Estate Agent’s Referral

Whenever you are dealing with a real estate agent, understand that their primary motivation is to close a sale in the fastest time frame available. Home inspections cause a delay in this process, so some agents will be reluctant to do so if you’re eager to purchase the property.

Some real estate agents may recommend a home inspection that they have on call. While this may be a decent suggestion, understand that there could be some conflicts of interest that can complicate the home sale. For example, a real estate agent may have a close relationship with a home inspector, who may overlook certain details. Or, an inspector may feel obligated to go easy on the inspection in hopes to fetch a higher closing price - and thus a higher commission.

Identify Qualified and Trusted Home Inspectors

Having a qualified home inspector that you trust gives you an advantage in negotiating a fair price for a home. The following methods can help you find the best professional to perform a thorough home inspection.

Word of Mouth

To find a reputable inspector, first ask friends who have recently purchased a home whether they recommend the person they used. Having first-hand experience can make a difference versus contacting a person or agency that you may not know besides their online descriptions and reviews.

Online Sources

Finding a home inspector online is the primary method that homeowners and prospective home buyers use. Online communities such as NextDoor and Patch can point you in the right direction for qualified home inspectors in your area.

Another great resource is home services sites like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List, which offer not only a searchable directory of home inspectors, but also numerous reviews to check.

Professional Organizations

Home inspectors are professionally certified and licensed, so it makes sense to contact organizations that provide training and verification. The following are some great professional organizations to help you find qualified home inspectors:

  • American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
  • National Academy of Building Inspection Engineers (NABIE)

Simply go to each organization’s website to find a directory of their members’ experience and professional certifications, as well as the services they provide.

Perform Due Diligence

Once you’ve lined up a list of potential home inspectors, you should cross examine these candidates. Search online with the name of the company or inspector specifically to find any complaints or glowing reviews that can inform your purchase. Your local Better Business Bureau Chapter may also have a record of information of particular home inspectors, providing a more comprehensive picture of just who you intend to deal with. If there are too many negative reviews, you should look elsewhere.

Look for Credentials

When choosing a home inspector, select one that has professional certifications. For example, ASHI requires its candidates to pass an in-person National Home Inspector Examination and provide accurate documentation that they’ve performed at least 250 paid home inspections. On the state level, thirty-four states require home inspectors to pass a written National Home Inspector Examination.

Of course, certifications and licensing do not always ensure a comprehensive inspection to meet your needs. It is common for a home inspector to overlook certain problems due to oversight or just human error, which may prompt you to hire a separate home inspection if you believe that there are more problems that went unchecked.

Consider Training and Experience

As a general rule, you want to find a home inspector with years of hands-on experience inspecting a wide variety of homes. Due to their experience, they’ll be able to spot Problems more easily and will have experience with a broad range of home issueAs a general rule, you want to find a home inspector with years of hands-on experience inspecting a wide variety of homes. Due to their experience, they’ll be able to spot problems more easily and will have experience with a broad range of home issues that may develop in the near-future.

For older homes, it is important to look for an inspector with extra training and credentials, such as a home engineers license or an architectural background. Of course, the specialized home inspectors tend to charge more, but they will have a wider range of experience to address older homes that must conform to modern building codes.

Ask What’s Included in a Home Inspection

The typical price for a home inspection generally runs between $300-$1000. This is a fairly broad range for non-specialized home inspections, as it depends on the home’s location, the size of the property, the inspectors experience, and the scope of the inspection.

Depending on the home inspector that you hire, they may add three services to the home inspection for a more comprehensive look at the home. For example, more and more home inspectors are using drones to accurately assess the condition of a home’s roof. Others may use infrared cameras on a home’s ceilings, walls, and floors to detect moisture buildup.

Be aware that additional services that go beyond a normal home inspection may tack on extra costs, especially for specialized tests. Some of the specialized tests are not normally included home inspections include tests for lead, radon, mold, and termites. And if a home inspector does not provide these services, you may want to ask them for a referral to an expert who can test for what you’re looking for.