More and more home buyers are recognizing the importance of professional home inspections when it comes to making smart and sound real estate investments. Home inspections, after all, educate prospective buyers about the conditions, systems, and structures of a property – as well as alert them to any damages, hazards, and potentially costly defects found within it.
But who to call? There are numerous home inspection organizations out there: are these inspectors created equal?
Not according to HouseMaster, one of America’s largest and best-established home inspection organizations. According to Kathleen Kuhn, President and CEO of HouseMaster, buyers should be more selective when it comes to hiring home inspectors – and not just base decisions on professional fees.
“The prices vary, but this should not be the deciding factor when choosing home inspectors,” says Kuhn. “A buyer may choose one home inspector over another because of a difference of a few dollars, but when the home inspection isn’t done right, it might cost hundreds or even thousands more dollars down the road.”
HouseMaster emphasizes the importance of inspecting the inspector, and finding out more about the qualifications of professionals offering home inspections.
Licenses. Licensed home inspectors are a must – this means they have been trained to check the potential conditions in a home. More than one-time licenses, however, buyers should set their sights on finding home inspectors who have been tested and re-certified, and who are abreast of today’s home systems.
Education and technical support. In Chicago as well as in other states, it’s easy to find out which home inspectors are duly licensed or registered. But these do not necessarily equate to the best credentials. It’s always good to depend on professional home inspectors who not only have licenses, but also education and technical support programs. That way, if buyers have anything to ask about the homes and properties they’re interested in, they can consult their home inspectors and their experienced staff.
Scope of inspection. The contract will usually give buyers an idea of what the scope of the home inspection is. This helps set expectations for the inspection, and will let the buyer know which parts of the house are going to be covered, and which parts aren’t going to be covered. If the scope of the inspection isn’t clearly written in the contract, ask the professional home inspector to outline it.
Professionalism. How can buyers tell if an inspector is professional in his goings-on? It’s not a tough one to answer, especially if they pay attention to the way the inspector answers his phone calls. Buyers should be cautious of inspectors who answer calls while actually inspecting a house – or driving on the way to an inspection. The professional ones deal with calls properly, provide detailed descriptions of their services, answer questions and inquiries (more than) satisfactorily, and schedule inspections promptly.
Guarantees. It’s always smart to look out for written guarantees when dealing with home inspectors. Why? Because while home inspections aren’t exactly insurance policies against damages and repair needs, they can still serve as leverage for price negotiations and dealings between sellers and buyers. If a home inspector offers some form of service guarantee, and actually writes it down, then it means that he will stand by the accuracy of whatever his findings are.
Websites. If buyers can do their homework online and search the Web for the latest in the housing market, then so should they be able to look up professional home inspectors online. Buyers should review the websites of these inspectors and from there they can get an idea of their qualifications and their level of professionalism and service. It’s also good to educate one’s self and read up content from home inspectors’ websites, like informative articles, client testimonials, and home inspections and home maintenance tips, among others.
Inspecting the inspector is a critical component to making smart real estate investments. Buyers should take the time to select the best and most qualified professionals – those who can be trusted to guide people along the process of buying a new home.