Finding a good home inspector
Next to the attorney on your crew, the home inspector is probably the next most important person to help keep you out of potential financial disasters. His main job (and essentially what to look for in a home inspection) is to make you aware of every physical defect in the property you’re about to purchase. In this way, you can best prepare your financial pro forma for expected repairs and major renovations. Without him, it’s like sailing a ship blindly in a storm. And rocks lay ahead.
Home inspection FAQ
Home inspectors are usually fully licensed by their state. However, never assume this. Always check to see that they are. You may also want to check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints that have been lodged against the inspector you’re considering hiring. It’s also good to get several referrals from your real estate agent for local home inspectors they work with a lot. Realtors tend to create an approved list for different craftspeople as well as real estate related fields, including home inspection. Anyone on their approved list will have already been vetted many times over.
Things to look for in home inspection
Additionally, ask for any prospective home inspector to send you their standard “boilerplate” of an inspection report – before you hire them. Some inspectors utilize grandiose, and extremely lengthy reports. Problem is, while they are plugging in the important data relevant to your property, the report is made up of 90 to 95% standardized language – most of which are helpful tips and warnings for different hazardous, generic conditions any house would potentially have. (For example, a helpful tip is to make sure you check that walkways don’t have cracks.) Timewise, I’ve seen some inspectors take three to four hours for some standard home inspections. This is insane. It just means they’re not very efficient at scoping out the house. Normal house inspections should take between one to two hours tops. If the inspector is also running a lot of tests (water, septic, etc.), then allow for a little longer.
Home inspection price
Certainly, don’t select a home inspector on price alone. This would be penny pinching to the highest degree. And very foolish. If the inspector’s price falls within the average for your area (the traditional amount for an inspection varies between $300 and $400), he’ s been recommended by your real estate agent, he has no complaints against him, and he says he can complete your inspection within two hours, then by all means choose him. After one inspection, you’ll know if he’s someone you can work with again.
Choose the best home inspector
As you build your crew, you’ll want to use your trusted home inspector over and over again. In a while, besides possibly obtaining volume discounts from him, you’ll also find another major benefit. You’ll develop something called rapport, and you’ll learn what to ask a home inspector. You’ll be able to trust his insights implicitly. And you’ll also be able to develop a “shorthand” way of communicating with him. The home inspector I stuck with for many years eventually did not need to send me those “boilerplate” inspection reports. He’d send me a shorter version – not the one used for standard home buyers. Communication flowed easily – and he kept me out of danger innumerable times in the process.
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