There is one thing that you will need one buying a home to protect you from buying a bad house. Of course, you will always need a mortgage to buy the house, but the home inspection is your insurance. An inspection finds potential problems with a house. It lets you walk away entirely, or renegotiate for a better selling price or for the seller to fix the problems before you buy the house. A home inspection is a really good tool to make sure the house you are buying is up to muster. More than that, a home inspection is often required by the mortgage lender.
So you need a home inspection. The problem is finding a good home inspector. Idaho doesn’t require that home inspectors here are licensed. The state doesn’t regulate them at all. Finding the right home inspector can seem a little challenging, especially with your real estate agent suggesting one, or your friends and family putting in their two cents. While a real estate agent recommendation can be alright, and your friends and family probably have good advice, you will need to shop around for a home inspector. Fortunately, there are some simple questions you can ask inspectors to see if they will be right for the job.
1. Ask if the inspector is a member of a professional organization.
While the state of Idaho doesn’t regulate or require home inspectors to be licensed, reputable home inspectors will be members of a professional inspection organization. These organizations are: the National Association of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors, or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
Keep in mind that membership in one of these organizations doesn’t automatically make the inspector an expert. However, the organizations have rules and regulations regarding the ethics and procedures of a home inspection.
2. Ask about their background.
When you hire a home inspector, you want to find one that has experience within the building industry. They will know local building codes and requirements, and more importantly, they will know what to look for in a home to make sure the construction is up to par. Experience is even more important if you are buying an older home, because older homes will have problems that modern homes won’t.
3. Ask about their experience.
While a home inspector with a year of experience might be better than an inspector with 20 years of experience, you’ll want to ask. If the inspector comes from a construction or home repair background, but they are a newer inspector, that’s okay. They know what to look for. Find an experience level and a background you are comfortable with.
4. Ask how long the inspection will last.
If an inspector ensures you that they will be in and out in under an hour, don’t use them. Most home inspections take between two to three hours. Inspections can take longer if the home is older or bigger. You want an inspector that will take the time they need to thoroughly investigate the house. A rushed inspection means missed problems.
5. Ask what they will inspect.
While the inspector won’t look at things they can’t see, like inside walls, they do look at everything they can see. They should be able to look at the roof, attic, crawlspace or basement, even if they’ll need a ladder. You’ll want to make sure that the inspector checks appliances, like the water heater, furnace, and even the electrical box. They should at least be able to let you know if these systems are safe.
6. Ask if you can attend the inspection.
If you ask to attend the inspection and they say no, that’s a big red flag. The inspector should want you at the house and the inspection. This way, they can talk you everything that they find, and actually show you want they are talking about. Plus, you can ask any questions you might have right there, instead of calling him up and trying to remember.
7. Ask about the inspection report.
Not only will you want to be able to read the report, but you will want to make sure that the inspection report will meet the requirements of your mortgage lender. Ask the inspector about their reports, and request to see samples so you’ll know what to expect. Most inspectors will provide you with their report in 24 hours or less, and many will provide you with a hard copy and a digital copy.