Buying a Home? How to Choose a Home Inspector.

Woman calling home inspectoe

Purchasing a home could be your single largest purchase in your lifetime. It is worth taking the time to find a truly great inspector. Most contracts, including both the FR/BAR and NABOR contracts commonly used in Southwest Florida, allow the buyer the right to inspect the property. In fact, even “as is” contracts will typically have a provision to let you inspect although you cannot force the seller to remedy any issues.

Finding a Home Inspector

You do not want to choose the first home inspector you call. Realtors® like myself have seen our share of both the great and not so great. You are making a significant purchase so be sure to choose your home inspector wisely. I suggest that you:

  • Talk to your Realtor® for suggestions. I am always here for recommendations.
  • Ask friends or family that recently purchased or sold a home for their review. Sellers may have been victim of a thorough inspection or a friend that recently bought may point out items that she would have never seen on her own!
  • Look for an inspector from the three major affiliated groups—[National Institute of Building Inspectors](http://www.nibi.com/), [American Society of Home INspectors](http://www.ashi.org/), [International Society of Certified Home Inspectors](http://www.nachi.org/)

Ask for a sample report from various inspectors and see which is the most thorough.

Your home inspector will provide you with a written report, including pictures, showing the results of the inspection. Call an inspector that you may be interested in and ask for a recent inspection that was done so you can see their work. A quality inspector will be proud of his work and send one along for your review.

Find an inspector that works in your timeline

Pay close attention to the timeline in your purchase contract. In the NABOR purchase agreement, the buyer is given 15 days to have an inspection done yet I advise you have your inspection as soon as possible. Mold tests can take a few days for the results to be returned and radon gas inspections require 48 hours. Leave yourself ample time for the inspector to return the report with all results.

Can I do my own home inspection?

This depends on the contract! With our two main contracts in Southwest Florida, the inspection needs to be completed by a licensed inspector. However, if you use the “as is” contracts then you are able to do your own inspection. Heck, you can do it yourself!

My professional opinion: You’re making a substantial investment in your future. A home inspection is not where you want to skimp on price.

Do not shop price.

On that note, we all love a great value. I just bought a pair of $75 tennis shoes for $35 and rode that wave of excitement for weeks! Yet, shoes and a home inspection are two different animals.

For a home or condo in the 1,800 square foot range, you can expect to spend about $400 for the inspection, $300 for mold and $100 for radon. For well under $1,000 you get the peace of mind you deserve.

Inspections range in price but also in quality. On a purchase this size, a highly recommended inspector is worth the extra money.

“Do not let cost be a factor in deciding whether or not to have a home inspection or in the selection of your home inspector. The sense of security and knowledge gained from an inspection is well worth the cost, and the lowest-priced inspection is not necessarily a bargain.” –homeinspector.org

Compare The Inspector’s Contracts

What happens if your inspector misses something? Let’s be honest–it would take days to look at every nook and cranny of a home. Inpspectors will do their absolute best yet it is entirely possible that a minor detail could get missed. As a result, you will hire an inspector and sign a waiver acknowledging that the inspector may miss these minor details. On that note, there have been legal cases where buyers have sued inspectors for gross negligence for missing major issues. The best thing to do is to ask your inspector what happens if they miss something.

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