You can already envision yourself sipping your morning coffee in the big bay window, wrapped in newborn golden sunlight. Or taking your family holiday portrait in front of your original 1930s brick and mortar fireplace. Your mind is still on a high with a rush of endorphins and excitement since your offer was accepted and you’re now under contract for that home purchase. Next order of business…dun dun dun – the home inspection. Dramatics aside, do not overlook the inspection process. A clean bill of structural health will validate your decision about that little gem tucked under a canopy of maple trees on Broadway Avenue.
Each home has its own story. You need the right home inspector to tell the tale. Keep these three tips in mind when choosing a home inspector:
1. Experience, Experience, Experience
There is no substitute for experience, and now is not the time to try and find one. When interviewing your home inspector recruits, think of it this way: would you get a root canal from a guy who was an auto mechanic six months ago? Your tooth sincerely hopes not. Ask your inspector how long he has been inspecting homes and what makes him more qualified than his counterparts. The more experience the inspector has in the construction business, the better. While some buyers may be distracted by the shiny cabinet hardware, smooth Caesar-stone counters or rich mahogany floors, a good inspector conducts a visual check for structural concerns like sagging roof lines, low water pressure and blockages in chimneys.
Not all states regulate the Home Inspection business, so it is possible that virtually anyone can call themselves an inspector. A true professional will be certified through a creditable organization. ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, is North America’s oldest and most respected professional society of home inspectors. They hold high standards and follow a strict code of ethics. Some states may have their own certifying body, but just make sure your inspector is certified by a reputable and respected home inspection organization. Additionally, inquire about other certifications your inspector possesses that may authenticate their knowledge and experience. Such certifications can pertain to plumbing, electrical, mold, engineering, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. It always helps to hear first-hand from a home buyer who was once in your shoes.
Remember the time you were filled with regret for opting for the $11 haircut special instead of the chic $65 cut? Well, your photos remember. If you hire an inspector based solely on price, you may end up paying for it for years to come—in costly repairs and aspirin for your headache. . The home inspector is not a one-size-fits-all commodity. Considering your home may be the single biggest investment in your lifetime, now is not the time to hire the “any home, same price” guy to save $50. That guy might overlook the crack in the slab, the leaking shower, or the fire hazard in the electric panel. Now all of a sudden, that extra $50 is looking like a real bargain compared to the tens of thousands of dollars it might take to repair something you “wish you knew about” before signing your life way.
Remember, not all stories have happy endings, but qualified home inspectors are story tellers who can give you your happily ever after.