Last night, my little sister announced some very exciting news: she just put in an offer on her first home and it was accepted! Being the voice-of-reason (and over-bearing…haha) older sister I am, I immediately began to wonder about her home inspection options after congratulating her. When I asked my sister if she’s already made arrangement, she casually responded that she’d be using the inspector recommended by her real estate agent.
My initial response to this was, “Sound the alarms, danger Will Robinson!” because my experience has shown that some inspectors who work closely with realtors are simply those who pay the realtor to recommend their services, are a friend of the realtor, or who already have a standing agreement for trading of services, etc. While I know there are some legitimate partnerships out there, I really didn’t want my sister to end up dealing with someone who had less than stellar motivations. As we began to sift through various Angie’s List options for her area, I took the opportunity to educate my sister on how the process works and why it’s so important to strive to have the best possible home inspection. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
Five Reasons to Hire a Home Inspector:
- Beauty is more than siding/drywall deep. Sure, you may fall in love with the curb appeal of a home or the amazing potential for adding your own personal touches to a beautiful home, but do you really know what’s hiding under that drywall? Inspections allow you to learn about the H-VAC, electrical, plumbing, and structural components of your potential new home. Could you live comfortably knowing that your wiring isn’t to code and you’re just a toaster malfunction away from your home burning to the ground??
- Monsters truly lurk in the dark corners. An inspection also helps to reveal DIY gone way wrong. Consider this: if it’s found that an addition to your home was done illegally, it could forever have financial impacts on your taxes, insurance rates, and usability of your home. That en-suite bathroom complete with jacuzzi tub could be the just the beginning of a perpetually frozen pipe-laden nightmare.
- Know when to hold’em. Home inspections reveal levels of radon and carbon monoxide as well as the existence of mold. With this clean bill of “home health” behind you, it’s smooth sailing to closing once you’ve ensured the items above are also given a green light.
- Know when to fold’em. Home inspections are your out–they are written into your Purchase & Sale agreement (or at least they better be!) as an “out” in case the inspection proves unfavorable. With this contingency in place, you can enter any inspection with peace of mind that even if the house turns out to be it’s very own Little Shop of Horrors, you can simply walk away.
- Put your money where your mouth is. Inspections can act like a bargaining chip–if you find something that needs repair, you can certainly ask the seller to take care of it prior to closing or you can have the purchase price adjusted to compensate for any fees you’d incur to repair said damage. They really are the ace in your pocket!
How to Hire a Home Inspector:
- Do your homework. Before you hire your inspector, make sure to inquire about their experience (How many inspections have they completed? Do they work full-time in this capacity? How long have they been an inspector?), training (Any official training attended? Professional affiliations?), insurance (Is it up-to-date?), and references.
- Talk the talk. Once you’ve verified everything above, call or email those references! Ask the people about their experience as well as some of things listed below….
- Know what you’re in for. Solidify all payment details, report turnaround time, dates & timelines in writing prior to the inspection.
- Walk the walk. ATTEND THE HOME INSPECTION AND ASK QUESTIONS AS YOU GO!