By Jay Redding
May 2 2011
Once you've followed your leads and found that one great deal you've been searching for, you'll need to make sure that the property you're buying is what you think it is, and not just what it is presented to be. In other words, you'll need to have a thorough home inspection done by a professional. If done right, this one pre-purchase home inspection will tell you everything you need to know about the home, what works and what needs to be repaired, and any other baggage that might eventually manifest once you own the place. Here's how to ensure you are approaching this process from the right angle, so that you don't end up owning a hassle and a money sink.
The first step is choosing the right home inspector. Years ago, there was just "a guy" to call when you needed an inspection. Now there are over 30,000 licensed inspectors in the country, and you'll need to know how to find one that's qualified-not just certified (it takes little more than a payment to acquire the piece of paper, but experience and reputable work to be considered an expert). Start with the inspectors that are officially associated with the major national organizations, such as the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Next, be sure to do a thorough background check, in which you follow up with any references and reports you can find related to the inspector. If you find a good one, they will do the work for you; if you get stuck with a bad one, you will end up paying for an additional burden.
You'll find more than one candidate that looks good on paper, so after you call the licensing board to ensure that he is active and with no outstanding complaints, schedule a face-to-face interview. See for yourself whether or not the inspector's demeanor jives with his resume, and make sure he can answer all of your questions with an appropriate balance of knowledge, confidence, and experience. At the interview, it might also be wise to request a sample of an inspection report. When reading it, make sure that it includes all of the areas you expect from your own inspection, and that it is clear and professional.
Finally, be present at the inspection. Having the boss around always ensures hard work from employees, and inspection is no different. There is cause for concern if your inspector does not want you to participate. Make sure the inspector does a thorough examination, not just a one-hour blow-through of the house. Expect this process to take half of a work day (four or five hours for an average-sized home), and don't settle for anything less meticulous.
If you approach your home inspection prudently, and you are careful to select the right inspector, then home inspection can be a breeze that could end up saving you from making a huge mistake, or it could be the final straw that allows you to close the best deal of your life. On the other hand, the wrong inspector can lead you into financial devastation and a truckload of extra work and financial stress. Do your homework and select the right inspector; and you'll be on your way to profits.
Tells us what you think. J
The author has permitted the reprinting and redistribution of this article.