Home Buying Basics – How to Find a Qualified Home Inspector

Home inspection is an integral part of real estate investment. If you are considering buying a property, you should hire home inspection service. Most people do not realize how important it is to find a home inspector, whether you are selling your house or buying a new one. Bluntly, some inspectors are less credible when it comes to their background and qualifications. In order to find a home inspector that suits your liking and preferences, the following should be considered as a resource:

The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) – Most legitimate businesses in San Diego and the rest of California are members of CREIA. If you ask reputable real estate brokerages, most of them require their agents to work with members of this association. As with most states, a particular member of an association cannot advertise its connection with a particular group until this member has reached the strict minimum standards of a practicing member. CREIA has developed Standards of Practice that define the minimum scope of a home inspection. It also has a Code of Ethics that requires its members to exhibit the highest levels of professionalism, integrity, dedication, and good faith in any dealings with the client. By doing these, associations like CREIA ensures clients that they are dealing with a reputable and reliable home inspection service provider.

Another surefire way of finding a qualified inspector for your home is by asking for opinions and feedback. Talk to friends who have had inspection services recently. How satisfied are they to the services of the inspector? Did their inspector do a great job? You can also ask them the processes that they went through in finding the house inspector for their residence.

If you have a trusted real estate agent, ask for some recommendations. Agents deal with house inspections everyday. They often have first-hand experience on how home inspectors work and they surely know who the good inspectors are. However, take care not to immediately get the services of your real estate agent, unless you completely trust him. Usually, agents recommend the ones who will help them get the deal that they want. Ask the agent at least three references and then use these names as a starting point in your search for a home inspector.

If you do not know friends who have had a home inspection service or an agent who can give referrals, you may utilize the yellow pages to find a home inspector. If you live in San Diego, search for local names first before moving on the companies in other states. Try searching online yellow pages because they have feedback pages where you can check out what other people are saying about a particular service provider.

Before you finally hire the services of the home inspector, remember to check out the home inspector of your choice. Secure copies of their previous inspection reports to determine how thorough they are when it comes to home inspection. Ask about their record of accomplishment. Ask for the names of their specific clients and if possible, try calling a few of their previous clients to find out if the home inspection service did a good job with them. It will not hurt to ask so that you are sure that what you would be paying is worth your money.

The Best Online Home Inspector Course Avenues

Home inspection is one field that does not require you to have a degree which is a good thing in these times of recession, where people are looking to save money on education and degrees that are costly and long. But most importantly, home inspection is a profession that is widely respected. Moreover, it is deemed as something that is professional and career oriented.

There are various avenues where you can get home inspector course education. As home inspection is a technical field, its education is not widely available, though many colleges and institutes offer this education. A typical course runs for only a few months as compared to a whole degree. The home inspector course provides you with the basics of home inspection. These basics or the foundation courses help you to become more aware of the field of home inspection.

The first place where you can look for a home inspector course is online. There are various online technical colleges which are now offering short courses on inspection of homes. These courses are quite exhaustive and offer you a broad based curriculum. Many people believe that home inspection is rather an all out practical job, where you would be getting your hands dirty during home inspections.

On the contrary, this is certainly not the case; inspection of home is very technical job which requires the experience and expertise of the home inspectors in order to spot the problems in houses which are not detectable to home owners.

So, after you have completed the online education, you must get some sort of practical experience. This experience can be gained by going to the various home inspections technical colleges which not only offer home inspector course, but also apprenticeships that would give you the most needed experience.

Once you are done with the courses whether online or at college, you would have sufficient knowledge to handle new and old home problems that most of the home owners face. You would be able to make preemptive measures on how to solve problems such as water seepage, asbestos, heating and flooring.

These are the basics in any house and it would require an experienced home inspector to identify these problems. When you are involved in acquiring home inspector education, you will also be taught some real estate dealings and determining the prices of the homes that have certain problems. A career of home inspector is certainly very much in demand and would always be, as people buy and sell homes all the time.

Anyone, who is thinking about becoming a home inspector, must get all the information about this field; this is certainly not your common office job. It also has a fair amount of practical and traveling work that is part of the job. Many inspectors travel to different homes for inspections. Some inspectors have their teams to carry out the inspection. All in all, it depends on the individual on how he or she handles a particular home inspection job.

How to Find and Hire a Competent Home Inspector

Chapter 1: Getting Started and Taking Control

Professional Associations

Before you can even begin to contact and compare home inspection companies, your first goal is to secure a list of likely home inspector candidates from a reliable and trusted source. A good first choice to consider for obtaining a list of names are the nationally recognized associations that many home inspectors belong to. To help you get started, I highly recommend ‘The American Society of Home Inspectors’ (ASHI) and ‘The National Association of Home Inspectors’ (NAHI) not only because both ASHI (founded in 1976) and NAHI (founded later in 1987 by an ASHI member) were the first of their kind but also because they still remain the two most prominent and sought after associations in the home inspection profession today.

The next step is to contact the Association you have chosen to obtain a list of its members within a fifty mile radius of the area where you’re planning to buy a home. For those with online capability, the best way to proceed is to visit the Association’s website to see what they have to offer. If you prefer or have to use the phone, most Associations provide a toll free number you can call in order to speak with someone who can answer your questions and provide you with the information you need. In either case, keep the following points in mind as you begin to build and refine your name list: 1) try to end up with at least six to ten names, 2) always ask for and jot down each inspector’s rank or membership status within the Association including how long they’ve been a member, 3) in some cases you may need to contact more than one Association, and 4) take note that a home inspector may belong to more than one Association.

Referrals From Trusted Sources

Another good source of names to consider are referrals from trusted family members, friends and co-workers you have grown to respect over time, not to mention your attorney. In fact, real estate attorneys are usually very discriminating when it comes to recommending a home inspector who will serve their clients’ best interests, and not the Realtor’s, during the real estate transaction process.

Sources To Exclude

Unless a realtor happens to be in the family or a very close friend with your best interests at heart, all other realtor referrals should be considered suspect and disregarded making sure that none have since found their way onto your list. As for relying upon the phone directory, this is paramount to rolling dice or looking for a needle in a hay stack and is definitely not the way to go about finding a good home inspector!

Candidates And Newbies

As you continue building your name list, you want to be sure to exclude newbie home inspectors. To do this, you have to learn a little bit about an Association’s membership. For example, ASHI has what they refer to as Candidates and Members. By definition, an ASHI Candidate is one who has yet to attain full membership status by satisfying certain criteria as set forth by ASHI. This is significant since Candidates are often newbies to the profession, meaning they are just learning the ropes, and typically have little experience inspecting homes. Given this information, exclude all ASHI Candidates from your list unless you’re willing to hire and pay a home inspector to learn at your expense. In no disrespect to newbies, while all have to start somewhere, there’s no substitute for experience!

Also note I have purposely used ASHI to explain this procedure as I am not familiar with how the other association memberships are structured. Therefore, if any of the names on your list happen to belong to an association other than ASHI, you would be will advised to learn what you can about their membership as well.

State Licensing

Some states require licensing of home inspectors while others do not. If the state in which you’re looking to purchase a home does require licensing, then you need to verify that the inspector is licensed in that state and that their license has not expired so you don’t end up with a worthless home inspection. This information can normally be obtained online as well as over the phone by contacting your local state agency that handles licensing of home inspectors. To find out if your state requires licensing refer to ‘Links’ under table of contents. Incidentally and for what it’s worth, never hire a home inspector based upon licensing alone or you could be in for a rude awakening! More on this later.

General Liability And E&O Insurance

Insurance is somewhat similar to licensing in that the states that require home inspectors to be licensed may/may not also require the home inspector to carry general liability and/or errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. If the state you’re planning to buy a home in requires inspectors to be insured, you should be able to easily verify this along with their license since the state will not ordinarily issue a license to a home inspector who has failed to meet this requirement. It’s also a good idea to ask the inspector to produce a copy of their certificate of insurance before/on the day of the inspection for further verification. Similar to licensing, for states that don’t require home inspectors to carry E&O insurance, never base your final decision to hire a home inspector on insurance alone! More on this later on.

Summary

Secure a list of inspection candidates from a well known and trusted source.

Sources include Professional Associations like ASHI and NAHI, and referrals from trusted family members, friends, co-workers, and your attorney.

Refrain from using Realtor referrals and the phone directory

Exclude ASHI Candidates and all newbie inspectors from your list.

Verify that the home inspector is licensed and insured in your state if so required.