How to Hire a Home Inspector
If you don’t already know a home inspector, check with your real estate agent or family and friends for recommendations. You also can search online, but be sure to check online ratings and reviews.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has a Find An Inspector tool, as does the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
These association websites are also a good way to double-check on referrals you might see from others, as these sites have certification programs and a code of ethics for members.
You could consult the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website, as well, to see if there are any formal complaints about the home inspector you’re considering.
States often regulate the homeowner inspection industry and set inspector requirements. You can get a glimpse at your state’s regulations on the ASHI website.
What to Ask a Home Inspector
Before you hire an inspector, it’s a good idea to gain some clarity. You might ask these questions directly to the inspector or to a contact at a company that has multiple inspectors on staff or under contract:
- What is your inspection process?
- How soon could I schedule an inspection?
- How soon will an inspector issue a report?
- How will I get the report? Will you email it to me, or do I need to pick it up?
- What’s the inspector’s name and what is his/her expertise?
- Could you share references for your company/inspector?
- Does the inspector have particular experience with residential home inspections?
- What will the inspection cover?
- How long will the inspection take, and is it a problem if I attend?
- How much will the inspection cost?
- How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?
A home inspection could cost you $300 to $500, which is reasonable because you are hiring a certified professional to take a few hours to thoroughly review a property and issue a detailed report soon after.
You will need to pay for the inspection before or at the time it occurs. The cost will vary and could be higher than average if the home is more than 2,000 square feet.
It’s a good idea to compare prices and other details with a few home inspectors or inspection companies before you choose one.
You might also need specialty inspections, such as for mold, pests, radon and lead.
It’s possible to find an inspector who can do a general home inspection plus one or more of the specialty inspections, but make sure they have experience and certifications–if applicable–to do them.
What a Home Inspector Looks For
A home inspector looks throughout the home during an inspection, from the basement to the roof, as well as for other issues that might affect the property’s value.
The main categories include:
- Structure, including the foundation
- Plumbing and electricity, to make sure the systems are working properly
- HVAC, including the air conditioner, furnace and related equipment
- Kitchen, including appliances
- Exterior, such as driveways, porches and other spaces beyond the residence
- Roof, gutters and windows
- Attic, especially to find signs of mold and leaks
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