So, you’ve found your dream home in Albany, Leesburg or Southwest Georgia and you are ready to have a home inspection competed on the property. The home inspector is the professional that you will be depending on to complete a multifaceted inspection on this property to make sure you are making a safe investment and not buying a bottomless money pit. Here are some great questions to ask before the inspection:
- What certifications do you have for inspecting homes?
While selecting your home inspector there should be one non-negotiable prerequisite you should keep in mind, only hire a certified home inspector. Certified inspectors have been trained, tested, credentialed and verified by national accreditation organizations. These inspectors are committed to their clients by renewing their qualifications annually and staying up to date with required continuing education. Certified home inspectors follow a strict standard of practice to ensure you will receive the most quality inspection possible. Finally, true certified inspectors follow code of professional ethics they do business by.
- Are you insured?
A home inspector generally is not required to be bonded and insured, however, it’s very wise to find one who is. Why? That means that the home inspector has been back-ground checked and has been determined to be professionally certified by the insurance company providing coverage. Hiring a home inspector who is bonded and has Errors & Omission insurance coverage provides an extra level protection for you as a client of the home inspector.
- Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau or a Chamber of Commerce?
Choosing an inspector who operates an established professional business with strong ties to your local community or service area is very important. Look for a home inspection business that is a member of the Better Business Bureau as well as the local Chamber of Commerce. Why? This likely means they are no “here today – gone tomorrow” operation and will be around should you ever need their services again. It also means they will back their business to guarantee customer satisfaction.
3. What do you check or not check during an inspection?
A certified professional inspector should be working for you and have your family’s health, wellbeing and safety as their top priority. They should have a detailed comprehensive list of specific features on a home included in their inspection process. Home inspections should cover everything that can be seen from the roof down to the home’s foundation.
Most professional certified inspectors adhere to a strict standards of practice code of the nationally accredited association for which they are a member. This code identifies exactly what the inspector includes in the inspection and what they omit.
Remember that a home inspection is a visual inspection completed on a specific date and time. The home inspector can only report on what is observed during that inspection. No home inspector can guarantee that your home is not going to have any unobserved issues once that inspection is completed. A home inspection is in no way a warranty on your home’s future performance. No home inspector has a magical crystal ball and they can’t see into your home’s future. All your home inspector can do is report on what is observed during the inspection process on the day of your inspection.
Going into the inspection with a clear understanding of what the inspector will and will not be checking will ensure that you walk away from the inspection happy.
- What ancillary inspection services do you provide?
Despite popular belief – not all home inspectors are created equally. They do not perform the same caliper of services. Most professional home inspectors will provide an array of ancillary inspection services that can be tailored to provide the depth and comprehensiveness of the inspection you would like to have completed. Can they conduct comprehensive inspections for: wood destroying insects, mold, Radon, lead-based paint, fireplaces/chimneys/sewer scopes, septic systems, water testing, well flow testing, thermal imaging /infrared imaging, aerial roof inspections & property imaging services, etc.? Be sure to ask or find out what additional inspection features they have available so you can tailor your own inspection that will give you a great comfort level.
- What do you charge for an inspection?
Generally, the average home inspection can range from $200 – +$1,000 depending on the age of the home, foundation type, roof type, size of the home, what ancillary services a buyer would like added on, travel distance, and the actual inspector.
While every buyer should make sure they are getting a reasonable price for the type of home inspection they want – don’t fall into the trap of just looking for the cheapest person available. That’s the last thing you need to do. If you are considering investing thousands and thousands of dollars into a home – don’t you think it makes sense to hire the best home inspection services available to you instead of just trying to find the cheapest service out there? Spending more for a good inspector will more than pay for itself in the long run and give you greater peace of mind knowing that you will be able to make an informed sound investment decision on the property when they are done.
Generally, you’ll pay the inspector the day of the inspection, so you’ll want to know in advance how much and what forms of payment are accepted.
- Can I come along for the inspection?
While any professional home inspector will always welcome you to be present for the inspection process itself – the truth is there are many things that you cannot accompany the inspector on during the inspection process for insurance and liability reasons. So, if you don’t want to stand around unnecessarily during the actual inspection – If you can make it to the house – at least at the end of the inspection – you should always do so. That way your inspector can walk you through your home and help you understand how your home functions as well as identifying any areas of concern found. You have a chance to ask questions face to face and get clarification. You will probably find out more about the home that you were aware of before. However, there may be circumstances that prevent you from being present all together. If so, make sure that the home inspector takes the time to go over the inspection report with you at least. That way you have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have. Don’t be shy – make sure the home inspector explains everything to you so that you have a comfort level with the inspection findings. If an inspector requests that you not be present at all – RUN!
- How long will the inspection take?
Generally, a comprehensive home inspection will take anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete depending on the age and condition of the home itself, as well as any ancillary services added. Most home inspections take place during the work week, when the seller is less likely to be around, and you may very well be working. Knowing how much time you’ll need to block out will keep you from having to rush through the inspection to get back to the office. Again, if you can be present for the entire inspection – at least make it to the inspection wrap up with the home inspector.
- Can I see a sample report?
If you are new home buyer being able to view a sample report will give you a good sense of what to expect when you get your report. It gives you a chance to get the feel of the report layout itself and helps you get comfortable with how your inspector communicates findings. Every house has problems, usually lots of them, though most generally aren’t that big of a deal. A sample report will not only keep you from panicking when you see your own report, but it will also let you know if any additional inspections need to be done. For example – your inspector will often flag potential problems in the report, and you will have to get another expert—a roofer, HVAC person, builder, electrician, or plumber—to come back and do a more detailed examination. This way you don’t get freaked out, but you have a calm understanding of why they are suggesting that to you. Most of the time – those types of recommendations are for serious safety issues only. Being able to understand the report puts you and the home inspector on the same page.
- Do you stand behind your report?
A professional home inspector will conduct a comprehensive inspection of your home. But sometimes, even the best inspectors may miss something during the inspection that you might catch or come across on you own but it was not addressed in your report. In such cases a professional inspector will usually come back and inspect that area for you at no additional cost.
- Is there a re-inspection fee?
If your home inspector makes recommendations for repairs to the home in their home inspection report and you or the seller has those items corrected – will your inspector charge an additional fee for doing a re-inspection? Most professional home inspectors will not charge you an additional fee and will be happy to come verify that those issues have been addressed and are now safe in their professional opinion – as a client follow-up. But ask – to make sure.
There are an awful lot of people out there that call themselves home inspectors in Southwest Georgia. But asking these questions and doing a little research on your own can you help you get a better comfort level with choosing your home inspector in the Albany, Leesburg and Southwest Georgia area. If you are looking for the best home inspector available to you who is going to make sure your investment is secure and the health and well being of your family is safe – then call us today.
At Sentry Home Inspection Services – We’ve Got Your Back!