A Crash Course in Home Inspection 101

You can avoid five common mistakes if you follow these rules when you get a home inspected.

  1. ALWAYS get a newly constructed home inspected. Don’t assume your builder or contractors haven’t made mistakes just because you are buying new, and the home has passed all local codes and ordinances. A good inspector will catch any problems or issues.
  2. Choose the best inspector you can; he/she should be knowledgeable, trustworthy and thorough. Don’t hire based exclusively on fees, or someone simply because that is the one name you got from a friend. Often those with the least experience and technical knowledge will cost less; so, be wary. Ask for several names, so you can interview them and make the right choice. Accreditation, licensing, credentials, professional experience, whether the inspector carries Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance, and your comfort level should be determining factors.
  3. Attend the inspectionat least the last part of it. A written report doesn’t reveal everything. Sometimes minor problems can be overemphasized or major problems, disastrously underemphasized. Also, ask questions and listen when the inspector gives his/her opinion of the house.
  4. Follow up on issues discovered by the inspector before the closing. You might not realize the cost to repair certain items, or the extent of necessary work. Although the inspector should not recommend a repair person, he/she might be able to shed light on the contractors’ suggestions.
  5. Don’t expect inspectors to predict specifics about when a particular aging component might fail. Their response would only be an educated guess. Because their income doesn’t hinge upon the property’s closing, unlike others, they are hired and paid by you to give you honest answers; so you can always count on them to be neutral.