When looking for a home inspector, it can sometimes be confusing on who to use and how qualified they are. Here are some suggestions to make the most of what you get.
Consult the website of the American Society of Home Inspectors (www.ashi.org), which lists fully qualified professionals who have conducted more than 250 inspections, participated in 20 hours of continuing education annually, and passed two written exams. Once you contact someone, ask to see a list of standards or a sample report, so you get a sense of the level of detail to expect; you want to know exactly what is and isn't covered.
When inspection day comes, plan to tag along. Your inspector will work through a detailed checklist, noting how the foundation and roof are holding up, assessing the condition of the plumbing system, and searching for signs of flooding and/or water damage. Find out whether the electrical system is safe and whether the boiler is big enough to handle any size of family. Given the rising costs of heating and cooling, ask the inspector to point out any areas where you could improve energy efficiency by upgrading older appliances, adding insulation, or replacing worn-out weatherproofing around the doors and windows. A good inspector should show you both the good and the bad—and offer suggestions for keeping the house in tip-top shape, should you decide to hold it for the long term.
Virtually no inspector, however, can answer every question. You may find that you need to hire additional specialists. In earthquake-prone areas, for example, it makes sense to bring in a structural engineer. If the house is in a place known for termites or other critters that could be munching wood to death, hire a pest-control expert. If the property is planted with mature trees, it makes sense to hire an arborist because a diseased tree can be hard for non-experts to detect, especially in the winter. And if there's a pool, get a maintenance company to check out the filtration, heating, and other systems.
You can learn alot about the home while going through it and it will help you to look at items on your next property.
If you would like the chance to work with me or one of my fellow real estate investor coaches and our advanced training programs, give us a call anytime to see if Dean's Real Estate Success Academy and our customized curriculum is a fit for you. Call us at 1-877-219-1474 ext. 125