When purchasing a home, a vital part to being sure you are getting a sound investment is to have a home inspection done. This is a step in the home buying process that you won’t want to forego. A home inspection company will investigate the home’s foundation, structural condition, heating and air conditioning units, plumbing, electrical system, roof, floors, windows, doors, insulation, and much more. They are there to assure you that the home is not in need of any major repairs and that all systems in the home are in good working condition.
There are many home inspection companies out there, so you will need to do your homework to be sure you are choosing a reputable and thorough company. The following are some tips to follow when searching for a home inspection company:
• Years of Experience – Research the company and verify how long they have been in business. The more years of experience, the better. You want someone that knows what they are looking for and exactly how to find it.
• References – With the resources available on the Internet these days, this is an easy step. You will want to search the company’s name to see what type of referral and reference information is out there. There are also rating sites available where past clients will rate the company on a scale of 1 to 5 and can leave comments–be sure to take the time to read through all of these. You can also research the company with the Better Business Bureau to see their rank and if any complaints have been filed.
• Certifications and Affiliations – Home inspectors should have some affiliation with professional organizations pertaining to their industry, as well as certifications. Some to look for are: American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). Those inspectors that are experienced and serious about their profession will be affiliated and certified with several different organizations.
• Written Report – Make sure that the home inspection company you choose provides you with a written report, which should include detailed notes about each facet of the inspection, as well as any noted minor and major repairs that need to be made.
• Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions both prior to hiring a home inspection company and while going through the process. A question you will want to ask prior to hiring is whether they carry Errors and Omissions Insurance and if they offer a guarantee. This safeguards you, as the buyer, if any major repairs come about after the purchase; within certain parameters, of course.
• Cost – Depending on the size, location, and type of home, home inspection costs can vary. A typical price range is about $200-$500. In most states, the cost of a home inspection can be included in the buyer’s closing costs.
Remember that choosing a home inspection company is your decision and you need to be comfortable with the decision. A real estate agent will usually recommend a company, but you do not have to use the company they suggest. Do research on which company is best fit for the job. Most importantly, be present during the inspection and ask any and all questions you have.