You’re shopping for a home. You’ve been browsing all the newest listings for weeks. And you’ve been updating your painfully long my-house-must-have-this list like it’s your second job.
But after doing all of that, you’ve finally found the home that has you saying “I want to live here for the next few years of my life.”. You’ve been going back and forth with the seller and things are looking so good that you’re ready for a home inspection.
But there’s just one problem:
You’re not sure what you should be looking for in a home inspector and you’re racing against the clock to close on the house.
What should you want in a home inspector? Are there any characteristics you should be looking for that scream “You need to hire me!” in big, neon lights?
Here’s a list of qualities to look for when you’re hiring a home inspector.
Quality #1: Someone Who Specializes in Home Inspections
There are lots of home inspection companies that promote themselves as one-stop shops. They’ll inspect your house. And then they’ll also do your repairs and your general contracting.
At first glance, this may seem like a fantastic hire.
But here’s the thing about hiring a home inspector:
You want your report to give you an objective understanding of the state of the house. This is true even if you’re the seller. When you’ve hired an inspector who stands to benefit financially from doing the repairs, it can create a trust issue. Plus, you don’t want to end up in a situation where there are a bunch of repairs suggested that you don’t actually need.
That’s why if you have a choice, it’s generally a good idea to hire someone who specializes in doing home inspections.
Quality #2: Bonded and Insured
No matter how thorough the pictures look, you just never know what’s going on with a property until you get up close and personal to it. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a fixer-upper if you know what you’re getting into.
But the last thing you and the seller want to be contending with is a personal injury lawsuit after your house inspector falls through the attic floor.
When your home inspector is bonded and insured, you don’t have to worry about asking questions like “Whose insurance is responsible for this?”.
This, in turn, allows you to focus on what matters:
Getting a top-notch home inspection.
Quality #3: Someone Who Takes Their Time
It goes without saying that if you only have 10 minutes to tour a house, your list of repairs will probably be significantly shorter than if you had done a leisurely, 4-hour walkthrough.
Although the pandemic-impacted real estate market could realistically drive a homebuyer to rush the inspection and put in an offer quickly, a rushed home inspection may not give you the information that you need.
After all, the inspection report isn’t just another item to take off of your to-do list. It’s also about finding flaws and getting a sense of the house repairs that need to be done. That’s why it’s important to hire an inspector who will have an adequate amount of time to devote to your inspection.
Quality #4: Look For Credentials
Different provinces may have different rules around this one. And to complicate matters further, there are plenty of excellent home inspectors who haven’t necessarily got formal credentials.
But the good thing about a home inspector with credentials is that you can rest assured that you’ve hired someone who has trained and learned all about how to inspect homes. This person knows exactly what to look for and can assess your home with the type of thoroughness that comes with being knowledgeable.
To be clear, the qualifications of a home inspector can vary from place to place. But all things being equal, you may benefit from looking up the credential requirements in your state and favoring inspectors who meet the standard. It’s an added layer of vetting that just makes sense.
No matter which way you measure it, buying a house is pretty much exactly what people think of when they hear the words “major purchase”. Your home inspection is a key part of making sure that the house you’ve got your heart set on is ready for you to move into.
There are lots of home inspectors offering their services. And there are lots of companies out there that would love to do your home inspection for you.
With the help of the tips we’ve just provided, however, you’ll be in a solid position to recognize when you’ve found the right home inspector.