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AS A HOMEBUYER, you can’t a;ord ;nancial
surprises a;er you purchase a residence. Investing
in a home inspection could save you from unexpected costs down the line. A quali;ed inspector
has the experience and knowledge to provide you
with information that will help you make an
informed decision about a potential purchase.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when it
comes to home inspections.
Finding a quali;ed inspector
You may want to ask for referrals from friends
and family members or your Realtor, or look for
professionals certi;ed by the American Society of
Home Inspectors (ASHI) or your state home
inspection certi;cation board. ASHI has ethical
standards and requirements that must be met for
membership. ;e ASHI website, homeinspector.org,
lists referrals in your area.
While many home inspectors and real estate
agents maintain highly ethical relationships, choosing an inspector who is independent from your broker could prevent a potential con;ict of interest.
;at being said, your Realtor may have insight into
the best in the business and can save you time,
money and a potential hassle by providing a list of
their preferred inspectors for you to choose from.
Skill and experience di;er among inspectors, so
ask each one about his or her previous residential
inspection background. Also, verify that an inspector has general liability and errors and omissions
coverage. Both policies should include coverage for
bodily injury and property damage exposures.
Inspectors who don’t belong to ASHI might nevertheless be highly quali;ed, so make sure to ask the
right questions to ;nd out.
Be aware that the cost of a home inspection varies, according to location, as well as other factors,
such as the size and age of the home.
Ask about the inspection checklist report.
Inspectors have di;erent report protocols: Some
include photos, some don’t; some include a sum-
mary of suggested repairs or concerns on the cover
page, some don’t. Make sure you are comfortable
with how the information will be presented to you
so that you can understand it clearly.;
An inspector’s standard written report should
cover the following items and areas:
• Roof, attic and visible insulation
• Walls, ceilings, ;oors, windows and doors
• Foundation, basement and structural
• Heating and central air conditioning systems
• Interior plumbing and electrical systems
• Exterior of the home, including decks,
sidewalks, siding, etc.
Drainage around house exterior
Keep in mind that inspectors can’t see inside
walls or under ;oors.;If you’re concerned about
moisture or mold in walls or under ;oors, call a certi;ed environmental inspector. Also, a sewer or septic inspection is crucial when purchasing a home.
General inspectors don’t do sewer inspections. If
they o;er to, it’s a red ;ag, so hire someone else.
;ey also don’t do pest or chimney inspections. You
will need to hire a specialist to assess those items.
If your general inspector makes a recommendation to look further into a particular issue, make
sure to follow up with a more speci;c inspection by
a specialist in that area. If someone o;ers to do the
inspection free, don’t hire them. Pick the inspector
who has;one main focus of business. Trust your
intuition: If it feels shady, it probably is.
;e inspector’s report is not a guarantee that
parts of the home will never fail or need repair, so
don’t take an inspection report as a guarantee
against future repairs.
In some states anyone can call himself or herself
a home inspector—with no quali;cations, training
or experience in the ;eld. ;ere are many di;erent
versions of home inspection scams. A quali;ed,
honest home inspector will not:;
• Show up unannounced at your home
and declare it unsafe or in need of repair
• O;er a “free inspection”;
• Ask to borrow your tools ;
• Use high pressure sales tactics;
Report scams to your local authorities and
state consumer protection o;ce. For a list of con-
sumer protection o;ces by state, visit usa.gov/
Tips for choosing a home inspector
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