Home Buying in Potrero Hill>Question Details

Trulia San F…, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

What do you look for in a home inspection company?

Asked by Trulia San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Wed Jan 16, 2013

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Dave Wells’ answer
The buyer should be the primary home inspector. Do some reading. Look for checklists and go through them yourself. Then get specific advice where you need it, such as an estimate from an electrician or an opinion from a geologist. Talk to friends and relatives who own and maintain homes or who are contractors or tradespeople. Look at quality of materials and construction in the home. Ask contractors what it will take to make changes you envision. (Will redoing the floors be straightforward or will it involve a major rebuild of the subfloor?) Ask if routine maintenance will be unusually expensive or frequent due to certain features.

Getting an inspection from someone connected with the real estate industry is a bit like using the mechanic recommended by a used car dealer to inspect a potential car purchase. Most will probably advise you of glaring problems, but their income depends on not making people in the industry too unhappy, and some will even be unscrupulous. Their primary function is to give you a sense of reassurance. The scope of the inspection and the time spent on the inspection will be limited, and the report will be full of disclaimers.

Seek good advice and information, but rely on your own efforts. Demand the time you need to make an evaluation consistent with the amount of money you will spend to buy the home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2013
What I and my clients look for is a home inspector that follows instructions on what they should inspect. An example is this. My Buyers hired a home inspector that would inspect a home in an HOA.

He (the inspector) was informed that the roof was not part of the inspection because it was covered by the HOA and NOT the homeowner. When we arrived at the property, the inspctor was on the roof, taking pictures. When I asked him to come down, he insisted on completing the roof inspction. When I informed him that the roof was not part of the owners resposiblity, he still put it into the inspection report along with pictures.

It's important to have documentation (emails) to instruct these inspectors, which I did. Needless to say I recommended to my clients not to use this company.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2013
who tells the client that they have a bad roof? The client can then look for extra funds accumulated by the HOA. What if there are no extra funds?? Will you pay the clients portion of the special assessment?
Flag Mon Jul 11, 2016
That's a great question.

First they should have the credentials. They should be ASHI and CREIA certified. They should be accountable, bonded and insured and detailed.

The other thing that I think makes for great inspectors is being available to talk with my clients during and after the inspections. They should respond to phone calls from both my clients and myself. Just because they have already been paid doesn't mean the job is finished.

Coldwell Banker http://www.DavidTapper.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 14, 2013
Home Inspection Company's are buyer's choice - my clients have enjoyed working with companies that have availability when appointments are needed, professional service, provide an electronic home inspection report with photos, have a quick turnover to send in report.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2013
Hello there!

As Realtors, we already have a list of professionals we recommend for different services, including inspections.

In San Francisco, the good reputable inspectors are such is high demand that sometimes is hard to hire your first choice when you have a short inspection contingency period, so we have several on our list to call when a buyer gets in contract.

When we recommend an inspector, the chances are that we have already worked with him/her and our previous clients were happy with the results. We know how the reports will look like, what topics will be covered and we'll tell you what to expect.
The inspectors may or may not be rated on Yelp, but you can be sure than no Realtor in his right mind will invite somebody who had a low performance with a buyer or seller to do another inspection. Reputation is key.

Most inspectors have an inspection agreement that requires signatures before performing the work. The agreement outlines their responsibilities and duties and also, the scope of the inspection.

What a general inspection usually covers:
-Single Family Home/Multi Unit: foundation, roof, interior of the house, appliances, electrical, plumbing( at least visual), windows, any visible signs of mold or water intrusion. A thermal imaging instrument could be used, but not always.
-Condo: the interior of the unit only; the common areas are the HOA responsibility and other than a general observation of the surroundings and common area, an inspector will not detail on the common area. It is not the subject of a condo inspection report.

Please note that for anything out of ordinary, the general inspector will refer you to a specialist: structural engineer for foundation, mold specialist for water intrusion, roofing company for the roof, pest inspector for dry rot, etc..

Ideally, every buyer should be present during the inspection, ask as many questions possible and pay attention during the process.

I hope this helps.


Alina Aeby-Broker Associate
Pacific Union International/Christie's
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2013
After 627 Properties SOLD in SF and SM I can give you the man I have trusted with my clients and also a great termite company.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
Ask the inspector, before you hire them, as to what they will inspect.
Do they do thermal imaging? Most do not, and leave that for a mold inspector.
Do they check each electrical outlet, all breakers to make sure they are gfci, including breakers for spas/pools? Many do not check to see if spa/pool breakers are gfci.
Make sure they get on the roof to inspect it. Some inspectors do not go up on roofs.

Make sure that they provide a written report with color photos. Make sure that they are licensed, bonded and insured.

Douglas Lagos
Realtor, CHS HAFA Certified
Coldwell Banker Residential
Web Reference: http://www.douglaslagos.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
1. They must do a very detailed report.
2. They must be internet savvy.
3. They must use photos in their report.
4. They must use an infrared imaging tool
5. They must be available for questions after the inspection

I expect the best of the best from my inspectors. I want everything called out even if it means loosing a deal. Much rather have it fall apart up front then have the client call me up after the close upset because an Inspector missed something.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
Hi Trulia

Length of time having done inspections, how detailed are their reports,
are the inspectors professional, and can answer client questions and are they

ASHI and CREIA certified.

Best regards
Web Reference: http://ruthandperry.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
Make sure the professional organization the home inspector belongs to has strict continuing educational requirements, code of ethics, and published standards of practice. ASHI and CREIA are good organizations, but don't discount the inspector if belong to InterNACHI. See http://www.nachi.org/membership.htm.

Jeff Chase
Chase Home Inspection and Radon Testing
Flag Thu Jan 17, 2013
An inspector who is thorough. I also use someone who as thermal imaging tools...the capacity to detect wet walls or problem wires has saved my butt a couple of times.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
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