13 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
1). Is the inspector a CRI (Certified Real Estate Inspector) of NAHI™ (National Association of Home Inspectors) or a Certified Member of ASHI® (American Society of Home Inspectors)?
NAHI and ASHI are the only nationally recognized Professional Associations for Home Inspectors that require proctored testing, peer reviews, continuing education, extensive cross training in all of a homes mechanical and structural components, and the completion of 250 Whole House Inspections prior to becoming a CRI or Certified Member. The NAHI and ASHI Standards of Practice are recognized by FHA, VA, the NAR, and Court System through North America as the legal definition of what a Home Inspection does and does not include.
2). How long will the Home Inspection take on a typical house (up to 2,500 sq. ft.)?
A “General Home Inspection” on the typical house as described above should take about 2 to 3 hours to perform the inspection and then summarize the findings with the clients (anything drastically less will not usually be adequate time to do a Professional and Thorough Inspection).
3). How long has the inspector been doing “Whole House” Inspections?
It takes a minimum of 5 years of actually doing home inspections to gain the experience and depth of knowledge required of a Professional Home Inspector.
4). Does the inspector give his clients a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee?
Many professional inspectors will offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee – if the home buyer attends the inspection with the inspector and does not feel the quality of the inspection was what they expected it to be; there is no charge for the inspection.
5). Does the inspector carry “errors & omissions” insurance with a third party indemnification rider? (this covers agents, brokers, lenders, attorneys, and other third parties that may have referred the inspector)
Only about 1-in-10 home inspectors or engineers carry errors & omissions insurance. Of those that do, most of their policies do not provide coverage for anyone other than the inspector. Many professional inspectors pay an extra premium and purchase a rider designed to protect agents and their brokers in case of a major inspection mistake.
6). Question: Does the inspector carry “general liability” insurance for accidents that happen at the site?
Answer: General liability insurance protects everyone from an accident that happens at the inspection (i.e. the inspectors ladder blows over while on the roof and lands on the sellers car). The buyer or seller should never let an inspector or engineer on the property without this coverage.
7). Has the home inspector been a home builder, general contractor, or licensed architect?
Most of the better inspectors have been home builders, general contractors, or architects and have been heavily involved in the residential construction trades.
8). Will the inspector or his company repair what they find wrong on the inspection or will they recommend someone else to come out and repair what they find wrong with the house?
This is a major conflict-of-interest and should be avoided at all costs. A home inspector or engineer should never use the inspection as a tool to generate work in another field. This takes away his unbiased, neutral, third-party outlook and makes any of his report findings suspect.
9). What kind of education, work experience, and formal home inspection training has the inspector had that qualifies him to perform “Home Inspections”?
There is no one skill, trade, or degree that qualifies someone to be a home inspector, but the better home inspectors have often been home builders, remodelers, or architects. Some college degrees, technical schooling, or backgrounds are more conducive to training a Professional Home Inspector than others. College degrees in construction management, construction engineering, real estate management, or residential architecture are a plus.
10). Will the inspector supply a detailed and written report on site at the time of the inspection?
The faster the client and realtor get the report, the faster they can deal with any significant inspection findings, correct major concerns, remove the inspection contingency, and close.
11). Does the inspector encourage the clients to attend the inspection?
Professional home inspectors want their clients to be there if at all possible so they can explain significant defects if present and to explain the report findings in an educational manner so as not to needlessly alarm the clients about routine maintenance or minor repair issues.
12). Does the inspector give the clients a detailed and written inspection agreement to read and sign prior to the inspection that tells the client what the inspection does and does not include and spells out in detail up front how any future dispute resolution is handled?
Written inspection agreements help everyone by outlining the rules up front – no surprises. This helps to protect the buyer, the seller, and the real estate agent.
13). Does the inspector provide a free 90-day-limited warranty on his inspection services?
Guardian Residential Services provides a limited warranty on their inspections. This is intended to help the client protect themselves against unexpected major breakdowns of specified mechanical and structural components. Read your warranty for all of the particulars.
Contact us for a free inspection quote by giving us a call at 912.223.3012 or sending us a message.