You’ve looked and looked and finally found the home of your dreams. But your new dream house could be hiding some serious problems. That’s why it’s important to find out what serious issues could be hiding by hiring a good home inspector.

Carol and I always recommend our buyer clients (and sometimes our sellers) hire a good home inspector. Most do; and some don’t. Unfortunately, not all licensed inspectors will thoroughly inspect and report on your potential home’s defects.

We have a list of home inspectors we’ve dealt with and are satisfied with their track record. But, if you decide to hire someone on your own from Google or some other source, do your homework. Even if we find one for you! And it’s perfectly OK to interview a home inspector before you decide to drop $300 or more on the inspection fee.

Here are some tips on finding a good home inspector:

When to Inspect

Right away. That’s how fast you need to hire an inspector after your offer to buy is accepted. The clock starts running immediately on your “due diligence period.” This is the 10 or 14-day window (it varies) a buyer has to really examine the prospective home closely to ensure he doesn’t want to change his mind about buying, for some reason. “Some reason” could be water leakage in the basement not originally seen during the showing. Or wood rot too high up on the house you just can’t know about. And good inspectors are always busy. So, reserving yours early can be crucial to your protection under the contract.

The Process

Find out what their home inspection process is like. How much time is involved on the actual inspection? How long before you will see a report on the inspection. Get all of this in writing via email or a written quote so there’s no confusion later on what was promised and delivered.

The Inspection

When you’re interviewing an inspector find out BEFOREHAND what he/she will inspect and what they won’t inspect. The major items – such as heating and air systems, large foundation cracks, mold/mildew presence, wood rot, etc. – are the most important. Dripping faucets are not what you should be paying an inspector to spend a lot of time on.

The Qualifications

Find out how experienced the inspector or company is. Not just how many “quickie” certifications they have. Ideally, years in the construction field will be the most sought-after experience. Or a track record of several inspections, working with several realtors, etc. can help you feel more comfortable with their experience. Ask, for example, if they’re knowledgeable on septic tank inspections, or air condition/heating systems. Do they inspect for insects and/or insect damage? Make sure they don’t have to refer you to too many other specialists (otherwise, what ARE they inspecting)? It doesn’t hurt to ask for references or even ask to see a recent report of theirs for a client.

Again, we have a list of trusted inspectors for our clients. And we usually will arrange all the details for you. If you have any questions about home inspections or you’re ready to buy a home, please call or email us today.