10 Questions You Should Ask Your Home Inspector
Before buying or selling your home, you should have your home inspected. A home inspector can warn you of trouble areas in your property if you are a homeowner; or help you make an informed decision if you are a buyer.
Here are some basic questions you should ask your home inspector:
1. Does your inspection meet state requirements?
Inquire with your inspector if both the inspection and the inspection report meet all state requirements and comply with a widely recognized standard of inspection and code of ethics, like the one utilized by the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). You may view
their standards and code of ethics through their website www.nahi.org or www.ashi.org. State regulations are available on the website of ASHI.
2. Are you associated with a professional home inspector association?
The home inspection groups mentioned in No. 1 are just some of the many widely recognized home inspection groups in the US. But be careful of groups that have questionable credentials and certifications that resort to scamming people for money. Only hire home inspectors who belong to nonprofit trade organizations of outstanding reputation and always ask to see their membership ID.
3. How long have you been a home inspector?
Ask them about their experience, how long they have been inspecting homes, and how many inspections they have done. Upon your request, they should be able to provide you with referrals of previous customers. There are also many new inspectors who are highly qualified but you should inquire about their training and whether they plan to work with a partner who has more experience.
4.How do you keep your skills updated?
A good indication of a home inspector’s professionalism is if he or she constantly seeks more education and upgrades his or her skills in home inspection. It is especially important to have advanced skills in cases of older homes or homes with exceptional elements that would require further training.
5. Is residential inspection your specific focus?
Inspecting residential homes are very different from inspecting commercial buildings or construction sites. Make sure that the home inspector is skilled most specifically in residential inspection. If you have a unique property like a historic home, ask the home inspector if he or she has experience with inspecting such properties.
6. Do you also provide repairs or improvement services?
Some trade organizations, if state laws permit, allow the home inspector to offer repair services on problems that were discovered during the inspection. But there are certain states and organizations that do not allow this since it would be a conflict of interest. To learn more about the laws in your state, check with your local ASHI chapter.
7. How long will it take you to inspect the home?
A typical home inspector usually takes 2-3 hours to completely inspect a single-family home. Use this as a benchmark. If the inspector takes less than that, it may not be a thorough enough inspection. For larger homes, ask whether additional inspectors are necessary.
8. How much will the inspection cost?
Factors that affect cost are the size and age of the property, the extent of the inspection, and your geographic location. The average cost for single-family home inspections are $320 or even more for larger homes. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.
9. Can you give a sample of your inspection report?
Looking at samples of the home inspector’s previous reports will give you an idea if you will understand their reporting style. Usually, inspectors provide their reports within a day after their inspection.
10. Can I be there with you while you inspect the home?
The home inspector should allow you to be present while the home inspection is being done. This is a crucial opportunity to educate the buyer. If the inspector refuses, this should be a warning sign.