What You Should Do to Make the Home-Inspection Process Work for You

Getting a home inspection when you are seriously considering a home for sale is an important step to take, but it isn't enough to simply hire the first inspector you find. Instead, you will need to be actively involved in the process all the way from selecting an inspector through receiving the final report. Below are several things that you should do to make the inspection process work for you.

Find a qualified inspector

The first step is to hire an inspector who has the knowledge, skills, and training to perform a thorough inspection. While some states have regulations in place to govern the profession of home inspection, others may not have specific education or practical experience requirements. If that is the case in your state, then you need to be sure to know how to adequately research prospective inspectors to determine if they are right for the job. A few questions that you should ask inspector candidates include:

  • What type of experience have you had with home construction?

  • What are formal training have you had in the inspection profession?

  • Are you a member of any professional inspection organizations, and if so, which ones?

  • Will you provide a list of references drawn from former clients?

Participate in the home inspection itself

Once you have hired a qualified home inspector and made the appointment for the inspection, you should make every effort to attend the inspection and be an active participant. While you may not feel you have anything to offer during the inspection process, your presence indicates to the inspector that you treat the inspection seriously and are concerned about its outcome.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask the inspector as they work to describe what they are doing and what they see. Be sure they explain in laymen's terms and are able to clarify any confusing or jargon-loaded explanations. If at any point you don't feel comfortable with a particular part of the process or are concerned the inspector has missed something, then ask the inspector to go back and address your concerns. Don't be embarrassed, as the inspector is working for you and will be glad to provide answers to your questions.

Hire an expert if necessary

While home inspectors are expected to have broad knowledge of construction, appliances, flooring, and other aspects pertaining to houses in general, don't be surprised if they make a recommendation that an expert follow up with a closer look. For example, an inspector might recommend an HVAC technician perform an analysis of the central air conditioning and heating system if something doesn't seem to be working properly. Similar experts might be called upon in cases where there may be roof damage, wiring problems, cracks in the foundation, or pest-related damage. Of course, you will need to pay for additional experts to conduct their own evaluations, but the small investment is worth it should they uncover problems that will require expensive repairs.

Obtain and read a copy of the inspection report

While most home inspectors will provide a report directly to the home buyer, be sure that you actually read the report in its entirety and don't allow it to simply sit in the real-estate agent's file. Your agent will provide a synopsis of its contents, but it is in your own best interest to look through the inspection report for any red flags that may have slipped through the first time around. If you find an area that isn't clear in the report, contact the inspector to ask for clarification or explanation. Good inspectors will assist you as much as needed until you are satisfied with the report, so be sure to take advantage of their expertise.