If you don’t have extensive knowledge of construction or maintenance, you might find yourself in a tough position when it comes to hiring your home inspector. Sometimes it’s done in a hurry, or even after an offer to purchase has been made and many people don’t know a thing about the inspector they’ve hired – unless they live in a small community where everyone knows everyone. Before you start your hunt, have an idea of what your expectations are of the home inspector. Will there be a need for a Radon Inspection, a Wett Inspection or familiarity with a rural property? Check with your realtor as to what the inspection should include and what may be additional.
When you’re on the hunt for your home inspector, here are a few tips you can follow, to ensure you find “the one” that’s right for you:
1. Credentials and References
Most provinces have self-regulating professional bodies, and these set the standard for home inspectors. However in addition to observing provincial standards, it’s best that you ask your potential inspector for credentials and references. An inspector with 25 years’ experience and the right credentials sounds impressive, but checking into his or her references is always a good idea. When it comes to home inspection, communication is really important; therefore it never hurts to ask what your home inspector did before they got into the field: i.e., education, past career choices etc.
Ask your realtor for 3 recommendations. Your realtor has your best interest in mind, which makes them a great place to start, when looking for a home inspector to examine your potential investment.
3. Ask Around
Someone in your family, or some of your friends, may have had a positive experience with a home inspector that they trust; so it doesn’t hurt to cast a net out there and see what you catch with something as simple as a casual conversation.
Try not to wait until the last minute, so that you can be prepared with your home inspector on hand as soon as you find the property you want to purchase. Many people choose to start looking for an inspector the minute they begin house hunting. This way they can find someone who has great credentials, and they even have time to find an inspector with specific experience in the type of home they want to buy.
5. Check the ‘net
When you find a candidate you might want to work with, check the Internet! Many times you can find reviews and feedback online from happy (or unhappy) customers, which can be very helpful when you make your final decision.
Most inspectors buy insurance coverage. This protects everyone from the unexpected. Also, a home inspector with insurance is obviously someone in the field with experience and professional knowledge. An inspector who’s gallivanting about without insurance is taking a huge risk; Do you want someone like that inspecting the safety and soundness of your home?
In its entirety, your home inspection should take three or four hours and cost approximately $350 –$700 depending on the size of the home and the year it was built. When all is said and done, you’ll end up with a report that details the areas of the home that have been inspected such as the attic, the foundation, the roof, basement etc. and a thorough report will include photos for your reference.
There are some critics of the home inspection business that recommend paying your inspector a little more to spend extra time investigating every crevice of your potential investment. Others recommend hiring a contractor or even an engineer to take a deeper look – This is entirely up to you. When you’re making the largest purchase of your life it’s great to know your options, and it’s even more important to know that your inspection is in safe (and accurate) hands.