The major problem to fear about your home inspector is that you never know if he is good or not until after you make your decisions on your new home. You may wonder if you’ll have these issues…

  • What does all this “experience” add up to?
  • What certification or license should he have?
  • Should he be insured?
  • Did he find everything he should have?
  • Did he over do it and make me walk away from what would have been a good home for me?
  • Did I over pay?
  • Did I make a mistake by going with the lowest rate guy?
  • Are the items he didn’t inspect normally not inspected?
  • Is the free stuff included a good idea or just a marketing ploy?
  • Will hiring a guy who does repair work pay off because he’ll know what needs fixing?
  • Can I call him after the report is given to me, or even after the closing with questions or concerns?
  • What do I ask him when I call?

These are all reasonable concerns, especially for first time home buyers. You don’t really know, it is daunting. Hiring the right guy is important, your home is a big investment. I’ll break down what to look for in a good inspector, in this addition.

  • What does all this “experience” add up to?

OK, you want an inspector who has some experience to know what he’s looking at. Some may have a construction background, or even be licensed in other areas such as electrician or plumber. In my opinion, an inspector with a construction or contracting background is typically best. One with only classroom experience or online training may leave him lacking in practical knowledge.

  • What certification or license should he have?

In RI, there’s not yet a home inspector license. I recommend, you find a guy at least registered as a contractor through the state contractor board. This way, you know he’s more legitimate and you could file a complaint about him if you desire. You can also look him up online and see if there are complaints on file. You should ask for his license/registration.

Certifications: There are a few out there, but in some cases you could get confused with all the acronyms out there. But you could look for an associatio0n that has a test to gain a certificate, and mandates continuing education to maintain certified. (interNACHI) You should ask for his certification card.

  • Should he be insured?

Perhaps more important than a certification, does this guy carry the proper errors and omissions insurance? YES, he needs to be properly insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for this either. In RI if he’s registered through the contractors board, he’ll be required to be insured to have a current registration.

  • Did he find everything he should have?
  • Did he over do it and make me walk away from what would have been a good home for me?

This is a tough one, but if you have found the items above here in order, he will likely be thorough enough to find everything. As far as being overly dramatic, your inspector should tell you about every defect, but be able to help you gauge the severity or approximate expense associated with the repair. You know, is this a big deal or a minor issue. Could someone really be hurt, etc…That’s a matter of his professionalism and personality. Have a conversation with him before you book.

  • Did I over pay?
  • Did I make a mistake by going with the lowest rate guy?

First, you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you should be price gouged either. I set my fee, and that’s it. I don’t haggle or anything. Here’s what to look for, to avoid. One price any size home, a price with very few pieces of info given to your inspector. No advance agreement containing what is covered and not covered. Lots of excuses not to look at things. A trained pro, with proper equipment will cost some money. He should ask some questions about features, size, number of buildings, etc… before quoting a fee.

  • Are the items he didn’t inspect normally not inspected?

There is the benefit of the pre inspection agreement being sent out in advance. You will have time to look it over ahead of time. But easier than that, if you have a concern, just ask him. There is no state standard, but many associations have a standard your inspector should adhere to or exceed. Ask about it. Look at mine. www.nachi.org/sop

  • Is the free stuff included a good idea or just a marketing ploy?

Yes, nothing is free.

I hear free radon test a lot. Do you think the lab does this for free? Not likely, he pays for the test and absorbs the cost. Does he actually do the free service? One local guy offers free radon, but asks the realtor to pick up and send samples off to the lab. He does not want to come back out and go to the shipping company after he told you it was “free”.
No way, the test is very time sensitive, you must record to the minute when sample is capped and uncapped for accurate results, you also need to send it out to the lab in a timely manner. I don’t trust anyone but me to do all phases of the job.

Home warranties? Many cover less than you’d think. Same thing, the inspector pays for it and so do you. If he’s good, he’ll trust his skill and not need this ploy to get clients. I don’t sell insurance, I inspect houses. You want a home warranty, go buy one, from someone who sells them, not a middle man.

  • Will hiring a guy who does repair work pay off because he’ll know what needs fixing?

Absolutely not. How convenient, you need a new AC system says the inspector, you can pay me to replace it? HELLO!

  • Can I call him after the report is given to me, or even after the closing with questions or concerns?

Anyone confident of his craft should answer the phone after he is paid. I stand behind my work, and will answer any questions about them. Please understand, MY CLIENT pays me, so I answer to him/her, unless otherwise agreed upon. After you hire me, you can call for advice. I will refer my clients but I NEVER GET ANY COMPENSATION OR KICKBACKS! This is a big deal. My reputation is also at stake, if you need a good tradesman, I will give you the info on a company or guy I would trust in my own home, and for no other reason than to help the client.

  • What do I ask him when I call?

Ask whatever you want. Its normal for him to sometimes ask you questions too. Use this conversation as an interview. Ask questions about various items, just chat for a few minutes and get a feel for him. Ask for a sample report (I publish one online). Ask about anything you are concerned about. Just don’t call and say, how much, and are you available next Friday. No inspector will be insulted for you making sure you are hiring the right guy.

Hopefully, I’ve helped you answer some common questions about hiring your next home inspector. I look forward to your call. Thanks for reading.

 

Mike Auger

(401) 578-4878

RI Home Inspector

www.homeinspectorri.com