Finding a good home inspector

Richard Koller uses a moisture meter to inspect Richard Koller uses a moisture meter to inspect a home on Vineyard Road in Huntington in 2007. (Oct. 10, 2007) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Finding a Good Home Inspector requires some time and due diligence.

Q: What is best way to select home an inspector? What criteria should I use to select a good inspector? I want to make sure the house I buy is in excellent condition.

Newsday Homes

A: When it comes to home inspectors, your search for one should be similar to your search for a good lender. You’ll want to talk to your friends who recently used a home inspection to get a few referrals. You can also speak to your real estate agent and get some names from him or her.

Do a thorough interview with a prospective inspector, and ask what his or her process is for inspecting the property, how long it takes, what their special expertise is, and what kind of paperwork or information you will receive about the property.

You should also make sure that the inspector’s knowledge matches up with the type of property you are buying.

If septic tank systems are common in your area, make sure that your home inspector is quite knowledgeable about septic tanks and septic fields. If you live in the south, make sure he or she knows what to look for when it comes to wood boring insects.

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If there have been incidents of drywall problems in your region, you’d want the inspector to know how to spot the warning signs of problems with drywall that have been linked with electrical, plumbing and health issues.

While the list is quite large, it is not enough to know that the home inspector is affiliated with a national organization, while those organizations are good affiliations; they won’t mean that your inspector is good. You still need to do your research on him or her.

In addition, you must know that home inspectors may find potential issues with items in the home and may refer you to other trades to perform additional inspections. When inspectors make these referrals, they can be bothersome.

You have hired this inspector to review the home and it may not be hugely helpful if the inspector goes through the home and lists the cosmetic problems with the home and refers you to heating, air-conditioning, termite, roofing, foundation, septic system, water heater, soil conditions, and other specialists for their review of your home. When the list gets too large, that inspector’s review of your home may be of little value.

For these reasons, you need to understand what the inspector will look at in your home before the inspection occurs. You can even ask the inspector what inspections he does not perform in the home as that list may be shorter than the list of what will be inspected.

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Technology has improved and home inspectors now use infrared cameras and moisture meters to assist them in their evaluation of a home. But keep in mind that you want the inspector to know how to inspect, review and evaluate the biggest problems you might have with your home.

Any inspector can miss a broken faucet or toilet, but you don’t want that inspector missing a large crack in the foundation of the home, mold in the attic, a non-functioning septic system, a siding system on a home that has caused moisture problems to surface in the home, a roofing system that needs replacement, or a structural problem with the way the home is constructed.
 

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