A home inspection might seem like a simple topic to address. However, the more you look into it, you can get caught in dozens of questions all related to the home inspection process. From finding a quality general home inspector to the types of inspections, requirements, type of home and tackling specialty issues, it’s something that is really important to take time to do your due diligence.
HOME INSPECTION CONSIDERATIONS
Whether you are buying an existing home in Colorado Springs or doing a custom build, you might want to consider how you are going to handle home inspections BEFORE you get too far in the process. (If you are already at the end of the process, you should still find these tips helpful).
- First, find out what is required for your particular type of loan. Different loans have different requirements. While many do not require a home inspection we cannot recommend it enough! A good home inspection can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars (and a migraine) later on.
- Next, consider what type of home you are purchasing. Is it:
Each of these has different needs so a general home inspector may not be the ONLY inspector you need. Consider a structural engineer, an architect, or a specialist. Check with your real estate agent for recommendations on the type of inspection you want to consider. Also, reading community conversations on places like Houzz.com or similar websites can reveal some great tips based on the experience of others.
TIPS FOR FINDING A GOOD HOME INSPECTOR
Not all home inspectors are created equal!
Just like everything else, you have good apples and bad. Buyers tend to get glazed-over eyes during the home-buying process because there is so much to think about – and it is a massive change in their life. As a result, when it comes to inspectors it is easy to just have a “whatever” attitude, especially if it is not a requirement. Let us encourage you to not gloss over this very important step. Think of a GOOD home inspector as your best friend. If they don’t find much, you have peace of mind. If they find something, then you can take care of it on the front end and negotiate terms.
- Research, research, research! It is easy to find reviews of local inspectors on Yelp, Thumbtack, Home Advisor, Angie’s List, and my favorite – Facebook (there is A LOT of great information on Facebook). These days, word travels fast so be on the lookout for client reviews.
- Bonded and Insured. This is a deal-breaker if they are not insured. You are putting yourselves at risk if they are not bonded and insured and something should happen during the inspection.
- Ask your Real Estate Agent for references, BUT…..don’t go on the FIRST reference you get. Go back and do #1, research. Agents have their favorite inspectors and that is awesome. Just make sure they are GOOD inspectors and not a family friend or kickback type relationship.
- Find a SINGLE-MINDED inspector. What I mean is: steer clear of an inspector who happens to also be a home repair guy. He or she may be a good inspector but they also may be generating business for themselves. Avoid any conflict of interest. (Besides, someone who is focused on doing one thing well….well, does that ONE thing WELL. 😄)
- Make it a priority to be present for the inspection. And require your Agent or a representative for your agent to be there as well. Most agents will already plan on attending, but if they make excuses… perhaps a new agent??? (Here’s a post on how to find a good Real Estate Agent)
- Have the inspector take pictures of problem areas or anything that might be questionable. Keep them handy.
- Ask to see how they draw up their report. A good inspector will have samples of what their reports look like. This helps you know if they are detailed and can communicate their findings in a way that you can understand as well.
- Make sure they are certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors or another quality association.
- Ask to see their checklist for doing an inspection and about how long it will take them to review your home. The inspection should take several hours. (Here’s a checklist by TotalHomeInspection.com. It’s good to know what you should expect from a Home Inspector.)
- Referrals. This is like #1. Ask, research, discover their reputation. Plus, look at the going rates.
FINALLY…GET TWO OPINIONS!
So many recommend spending the extra money to have TWO inspections by different companies. The reason is most general Home Inspectors are retired from their previous profession and are experienced in one particular area. Also, it is always good to have two sets of eyes. Maybe one of your “inspectors” is actually an architect or a structural engineer. Talk with your Agent to discuss any particular needs your new home may have. That might determine what KIND of home inspection you want as your “backup.”
Having a detailed and attentive inspector can save you money. In one case, the inspector went through an older home in the country rather quickly and didn’t look at a lot of things. The day the buyers moved in they discovered the water heater was rusted through and the pump for the well needed to be replaced, among other things. This SHOULD have been caught during the inspection. While this is a minor example, there could be issues that are missed which have a much bigger impact on your wallet. In any case, it is always worth the money to be prudent.