Does Your Home Inspector Have a System

Choosing a home inspector can be a nervous undertaking especially if you have no one to ask so as to get a referral to one. When choosing a home inspector try to find a home inspector that has system to what he or she does.

Most people have heard the horror stories of home inspectors that arrive late, are dressed like they just woke up or recently crawled out from underneath a car, and spend only 45 minutes or so at a house and claim that they are done. Often these inspectors use a sloppy hand written report and still leaves questions. I have read home inspection reports that provide little useful information.

When Habitation Investigation arrives for a home inspection, they arrive a few minutes early and wearing a pair of clean khaki pants, and a clean blue shirt. A tool pouch and computer are carried in to the home and set up in the kitchen where the notes on the home inspection will be entered into the computer and the reporting software. The home is then inspected in a sequence that aids in locating issues such as water leaks.

Habitation Investigation has a system and a sequence to the inspection process. The use of the computer and the report writing software allows for consistency and detail in the comments regarding the inspection findings. The report system also has the areas and systems of the house tabbed to ensure that each area is completed.

My typical home inspection takes 2.5 to 3 hours at the home to complete. After this time I will return to my office to place the digital images taken during the inspection in to the report. This makes the inspection report one of the most detailed around and the easiest to understand.

When searching for a home inspector be sure to select a person or company that has a system to help ensure consistent and high quality inspections. Finding a inspector that uses a computer and takes pictures as part of the inspection report also helps ensure that there is a system to the inspection process. There are several report writing programs available to home inspectors and are all decent. The biggest factor in if your home inspection experience will be positive or negative depends on the home inspector. It takes effort to do a thorough inspection, doing inspections is not a career for the lazy. Look for an inspector that has a good reputation, positive comments and a system to conduct the inspections.

How to Find a Good Home Inspector

Buying a home, to most of us, is often an expensive, scary endeavor. Even for seasoned, experienced home-buyers, the process is typically not without some degree of trepidation and apprehension. Much of that apprehension has to do with the physical condition of the property…whether or not the house is in reasonably good condition…whether the house is really as good as it looks or is a money-pit just waiting to steal your money away in the form of unanticipated repairs and expenses.

Enter the Inspector…the guy, or gal, that will give the home a thorough assessment and report to you on its physical condition so that you can make an informed purchase decision. How are you going to effectively track down and choose a good, professional Inspector? Well, there are a few time-proven strategies:

  • You might ask your family, friends, and neighbors if they’ve had any really positive experience with any particular Home Inspector. If they have, they’ll likely share that with you…and if they’ve had a bad experience, well, you’ll probably learn about that. too.
  • You could ask your real estate agent for some referrals…but don’t rely on a single recommendation. I suggest asking the agent who they might hire to insect a home if they were the buyer. Or who they think is the most picky inspector; that’s the one you want to hire.
  • Do some on-line research…ask questions in local forums. Check out on-line reviews; if a company has a large number of legitimate and positive reviews, they might be a good potential candidate. But beware, as in other fields, some inspectors write their own reviews; you can usually tell which one those are and they should be avoided.

Some other general tips are:

  • Don’t rely on the fact that an individual possesses a state license or local business permit as any proof whatsoever that they are either overly professional or at all competent…often, that means almost nothing.
  • Look for an individual that’s affiliated with a prominent and leading national Home Inspector organization…one that maintains high entry and membership standards such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI); active membership in such an organization is, often, a good indication of a Home Inspectors commitment to professionalism.
  • Search for complaints against the Inspector and their company…Consult the Better Business Bureau to determine if the potential Home Inspector is an accredited member company and whether or not they have any unresolved complaints against them

Once you’ve narrowed your selection down to 3 -5 potential candidates, you need to contact each of those and ask them some direct, and pointed, questions. And here is where you don’t want to shy or timid in your approach.

  • Please, will you talk to me? If a Home Inspector doesn’t answer their phone or return your initial phone call in a timely manner, then move on. If an inspector can’t, or won’t, make and take time to answer you questions now, then there is good likelihood they can’t, or won’t, answer them later.
  • How good are you and how long have you been doing this? If an inspector doesn’t exude confidence, move on. Likewise, if an inspector doesn’t have a significant amount of experience under their belt, you might better keep searching. Everyone has to learn sometime…but maybe you don’t want them gaining their basic experience on your home.
  • What kind of report will I receive?…Look for an answer that suggests a narrative style report…or at least a combination narrative/checklist type of report. What you need is a good Home Inspection report that clearly identifies any issues in readily understood language presented in complete and grammatically correct language.
  • How soon will I receive your report? Most professional Home Inspectors will provide their report to you, electronically, within 24 hours of the completion of the Home Inspection and this is what you should expect.Can I be there…with you? It’s important that you be able to attend every moment of your Home Inspection should you desire to do so; the inspection should be a time during which you are able to learn about the house and to get your questions answered. An Inspector who discourages your presence should be avoided at all cost.

Following some basic guidelines, doing specific research, and asking some pointed question of potential Home Inspectors will go far in helping you find a good Home Inspector and, hopefully, a good experience with that Inspector.

Happy Hunting!

Finding a Qualified Home Inspector

As you should already know, a home inspection is a key part of the real estate process. Of course, your home inspection is only as good as your home inspector.

Finding a Qualified Home Inspector

If you are considering buying a property, you absolutely must get a home inspection. What most people don’t realize, however, is it can also be valuable to retain one before you sell a property to identify any problems before your accept an offer. Fixing such problems before hand makes a lot more sense than panicking in the middle of escrow.

Regardless of your particular position in the real estate process, the home inspection is only as good as the inspector. Frankly, some inspectors are less than credible when it comes to qualifications and their background. To bypass these individuals, the following organizations should be used as a resource.

The American Society of Home Inspectors, Inc. is located in Des Plaines, Illinois. Known as ASHI, it was founded in 1976 to create a resource and quality control atmosphere for home inspections. You can get referrals to ASHI inspectors in your area by contacting the Society at 800-743-ASHI. In doing so, you will avoid hacks calling themselves inspectors.

The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors is another credible organization. Located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the Association maintains both a code of ethics and strict standards of practice for its members. With over 9,000 members in North America, you can find an inspector in your area by calling 1-877 FIND-INS.

Another organization that stands out in the home inspection industry is the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the organization also requires members to abide by strict practice standards and a code of ethics, which should be comforting to you. You can contact it to find a home inspector in your area by calling 800-448-3942.

The old cliché is garbage in, garbage out. By using a credible home inspector, you can put this cliché out of your mind.