Choosing the right home inspector can be a daunting task,
especially if you have never hired one before. When you are finished
with this article you should know what questions to ask when
interviewing prospective inspectors.
Â Since all licensed
inspectors are required to adhere to the same standards, many people
believe all home inspectors are equal. Nothing could be further from
the truth. If two inspectors were to inspect the same house, the
inspection reports and findings could be quite different. Simply
stated, some inspectors try harder, are more experienced, and are more
thorough than others. For example, some inspectors examine the roof by
walking on it, climb up into the attic and into crawl spaces under the
house while others don't. Which is why you should attend your
inspection, to make sure the inspector is doing their job. Here are
some other factors you should consider when choosing the right home
Home Inspectors Licensing-
Verify the inspector is properly licensed. Most states require home
inspectors to be licensed, check with your state's real estate board to
Home Inspector Experience-
It may surprise you to learn that anyone can become a licensed home
inspector, and in very little time. While experience in the
construction industry is very helpful, it is not required. This may
change in the future, but as of now, a person just has to attend the
required hours at an approved home inspection school and pass the state
home inspection test and they are considered a professional home
inspector, although they have never inspected a single home in their
life. The inspector you hire may be performing their first inspection
Most home inspectors join a professional organization to take advantage
of the benefits and sharpen their skills since these organizations also
require continuing education hours for membership. Inspectors can also
learn from each other at meetings and conventions. Texas Law requires
home inspectors to complete 16 hours of approved continued education
per year. The most prominent of these associations are ASHI, NAHI,
NACHI and TAREI.
Texas recently adopted a new law requiring home inspectors to carry a
minimum of $100,000 of professional liability insurance. This is
required at license renewal, so at this time, some Texas home
inspectors may not carry it yet.
Ask to see a sample of the inspector's report
- This should give you an idea of how thorough the inspections are and
if the inspector includes pictures of defects. Most inspectors use
computer generated reports and some post them on their website for you
to review, or he or she can email you a copy.
Should I Choose an Inspector Referred by a Realtor?
- That really depends on how much trust you place in your agent. Some
agents want you to use an inspector who does a quick inspection and
writes basically nothing in the reports so the transaction goes through
fast and easy. More professional agents want you to have the best
inspection possible, after all it's their reputation on the line when
they make referrals. If you are unsure if you should let the agent
choose the home inspector for you or not, then seek out your own.
Don't Choose the Cheapest Inspector
- Please believe me when I make that statement. I get calls from
potential clients daily. Many times price is the first question they
ask about. I don't think it's because people are cheap, I think it's
because they don't know what else to ask. While I understand that no
one wants to pay more than they have to, you do get what you pay for.
The cheapest inspectors are usually new, inexperienced, or ones
performing inspections as a sideline. I know of one customer who was
determined to hire the cheapest inspector she could find. After the
sale she discovered her insurance company would not insure her roof
because the shingles were installed over old wooden shingles, which
were clearly visible from the attic. She wound up paying for a whole
new roof (about $6,000), all because she tried to save a mere $25.00 in
inspection fees. The average cost of a home inspection in the USA is
$380.00 (USA Today... Friday, January 13,2006)Â
Here is a list of questions I've put together for you which you can use when interviewing potential home inspectors:
1. How long have you had your license and been inspecting homes?
2. Do you carry Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance?
On average, how long does it take you to perform a typical home
inspection? Through inspectors will take about three hours on a typical
4. How long does it take for me to get my inspection report back from you in electronic format?
5. Are you a member of a professional association?
6. Do you perform re-inspections on repaired items? If so, for how much?
Do you mind if I follow along while you inspect? Your inspector works
for you and should allow you to learn as much about the house as
8. What is your inspection fee? If the inspection fee seems too low, you may not get a through inspection.
10. Do you have any references I can speak to?
Keith is a professional real estate inspector in Fort Worth Texas and
serves the entire Dallas / Fort Worth areas. He is also a certified
whole house diagnostic energy inspector performing home energy audits
as well. You can get great information on houses and home inspections
by going to his website at: http://www.fortworthinspector.com