How to Make Sure You Have a Qualified Home Inspector
Real estate investors have always found it challenging when it comes to working with home inspectors. A rehabber does what he considers a “bang up job” only to have the buyer present him with a list of things they want repaired. Having been in the home inspection business for 17 years, I am the first to tell you that not all home inspectors are created equally.
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Licensing laws in many states have helped to take care of that problem to some degree; to help weed out the ones that shouldn’t be in the business. But there are those that still slide through.
If your buyer is bringing in a home inspector, how do you know if that person is qualified?This is not the time for them to save a couple of bucks and have “Uncle Harry” walk through the house and give his opinion on the condition of the house they are purchasing. Prior to the licensing laws virtually anyone with a ladder could call themselves a home inspector and go to work!
It is not only your right as a real estate investor, but your duty to verify that you have a professional home inspector looking at your house.
Here are some questions you should ask the home inspector:
1. Is this inspector licensed?
You should know your states requirements for licensing. If your state requires licensing (and most do now) you will be able to look your inspector up on your state’s website to see if they are listed. Having a licensed inspector also ensures that you have someone that has passed a test, and is required to keep up their continuing education. Things change quickly in that business.
2. How long as the inspector been in business?
Let’s face it; you want someone with some experience. The more experienced your home inspector is, the less likely you are to have problems.
3. Do they have E&O Insurance?
Errors and Omissions Insurance is very important and you will be very surprised to know that a high percentage of inspectors don’t have it. Ask yourself this question, “If the home inspector can’t afford E&O Insurance, how will they be able to fix a problem that they miss during the inspection”?
4. Is the inspector a member of ASHI? (The American Society of Home Inspectors)
ASHI is a professional organization that requires its members to pass a stringent test before getting that designation. There are many organizations that home inspectors can belong to, but a lot of them just require you to send in an annual fee to become a member. Being an ASHI member lets everyone know that you are qualified to do the job.
5. Does your inspector provide a detailed written report with pictures?
Not only do professional home inspectors provide a detailed report which can be 20 pages or more, they almost always provide pictures. Insist that your buyer get a qualified, professional home inspector.
6. Does the inspector belong to local home inspector professional organizations?
This tells you that they take their business seriously by investing in themselves and their education.
Learn to be a team
Today, home inspections are an integral part of most real estate transactions. As real estate investors, if we learn to look at the home inspector as just another part of our team, it will completely change the dynamics of the whole experience. And don’t forget about presale home inspections. I talked about these in a recent article. I still believe that they can save real estate investors a lot of grief by addressing the home inspection before a buyer enters the picture. Don’t forget, with presale home inspections YOU get to choose the home inspector! Not the buyer.
Photo: US Army Corps of Engineers