When you’re buying a home, one of the most crucial steps you can take is hiring an inspector to assess its viability. A careful inspection can tell you if the structure of the home is sound and what, if any, systemic problems may come back to haunt you down the road.
But not all inspectors are created equal. In fact, we’ve seen some reports issued by inspectors with online certifications, in particular, that are virtually useless.
So how do you find an inspector you can trust? Here are some tips from Costco Connection:
Ask for referrals: Query friends and family members, or call us. We will be happy to send you to professionals we trust.
Look for someone certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI): You can find a list of referrals for local professionals on the ASHI website (homeinspector.org). We strongly advise against using anyone certified by InterNACHI, an online certification service, as we have seen substandard reports from InterNACHI inspectors here in Colorado.
Ask questions of any prospective inspector: “Skill and experience differ among inspectors, so ask each one about his or her previous residential inspection background,” notes the magazine. Also, ask about the inspection process. Some inspectors provide photos, while others do not; some include a summary of suggested repairs or issues on the cover page; others do not. Ask to see the Inspection Agreement and note exclusions or limits to inspector’s liability.)
Be sure the written report covers: roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; foundation, basement and structural components; heating and central air conditioning; interiors plumbing and electrical systems; home exterior (including decks, sidewalks, siding and so on).
Be sure the inspector has insurance coverage. Check that the are covered, specifically, for general liability and errors and omissions.
Consider hiring auxiliary inspectors: General inspectors don’t cover certain issues, and may recommend obtaining further information. If necessary, we can help you get a professional opinion on structural issues found in the initial inspection and mold or stucco, for example. All buyers should also have the sewer lines and septic system inspected by specialists in the field.