Choosing A Home Inspector

The State of Ohio doesn’t have regulations or certification requirements for people who wish to become home inspectors. The only exception to this is in the case of certain types of environmental testing, like for lead paint and asbestos. This means that anyone with a clipboard and a flashlight can call themselves a “home inspector.” So how do you find someone who’s actually qualified? Here are some simple steps to follow.

  1. Ask your realtor for a recommendation. Realtors have worked with many home inspectors over time and therefore know which ones have better records than others. They can also tell you which ones are particularly good for the type of home you wish to buy. For instance, some inspectors specialize in older urban homes, while others are more adept at new construction or farmsteads.
  2. Ask friends for recommendations. In particular, ask people who have purchased a house a year ago. Some problems with a house that an inspector may have missed only surface over time.
  3. Ask potential inspectors for their qualifications. All things being equal, those with active memberships in accredited associations means that the person stays on top of current developments and techniques in the field.
  4. Does the inspector have a background or experience with home construction or renovation? As you want your doctor to be an expert in anatomy and organ functions, so you want your home inspector to understand houses structurally and have hands-on experience.
  5. Does the candidate do home inspections as a full time career and does he or she have any certifications for inspecting hazardous materials? If so, then the person is clearly committed to the field.
  6. Ask potential inspectors to describe for you the scope of what they will do. Also ask them what won’t be included in their report. For instance, does the property you wish to buy have a swimming pool or fruit trees on it? You may want the inspector to evaluate the condition and health of these things.
  7. Ask potential inspectors for a sample report. This will tell you if the inspector is merely going to hand you a checklist, or whether there will be a detailed description and photos of various elements of the property along with recommendations.
  8. Ask the inspector if they carry liability insurance for errors and omissions. Even good home inspectors can make mistakes. Most inspectors will assume liability only up to a refund for the cost of the inspection and will ask you to sign a waiver to that effect. Their mistake may cost you a lot more money. A home inspector that carries liability insurance may cost a bit more, but may also be well worth it in the long run, especially for an older home.
  9. Get a feel for the personality of the inspector. Do you like the person? Remember that you will be spending 2-3 hours with him or her walking through the home and looking at an amazing variety of detail you probably never knew existed. In many cases, you’ll need the inspector to explain in lay terms what things means. Make sure the inspector’s manner is such that you feel comfortable asking questions, even ones that may seem silly to you or obvious to the inspector.

Last but not least, call Susanne today at 614-875-9650 for recommendations about how to find the right home inspector for you!