Keys to Choosing the Right Home Inspector
Beware of home inspectors recommended by your Realtor. There is an inherent conflict of interest. Realtors want to sell houses and may be inclined to choose home inspectors who might gloss over any serious problems. Such problems can wind up costing you a bundle.
Avoid home inspectors who quote you low-ball prices. The least expensive home inspector is likely to spend the least time doing the inspection. And the less time they spend, the less likely they are to find the faults and problems that you are paying them to uncover. Likewise, they are also going to give you the least comprehensive reports.
Get their qualifications. There are extremely wide variances in home inspectors' backgrounds and qualifications as well as how thorough they are in doing inspections. Because this business is generally unregulated, many very unqualified individuals are providing this service.
Choose an ASHI Certified Home Inspector. Your best assurance of hiring a qualified inspector is finding one who can prove to you that they are a CERTIFIED MEMBER of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF HOME INSPECTORS. To become a Certified ASHI Home Inspector, individuals must pass a rigorous examination, conduct over 250 inspections, and remain in good standing as candidates for at least 6 months. In addition, after they become certified, they must undergo at least 20 hours of continuing education in home-inspection-related areas every year. Please note that some unscrupulous inspectors will falsely claim to be ASHI Certified. If they are truly ASHI Certified, they will give you their Certification number without hesitation. If you have any doubts, you can call ASHI at 800-743-2744 (or 847-290-1919), and they will confirm whether any particular inspector is ASHI Certified.
Make sure your home inspector is (and will be) readily available. More often than not, when you call, you will reach an answering machine, and your call will not be promptly returned. Or you will only reach a receptionist. You need a home inspector who is readily accessible for you to talk to before you hire them. Someone you feel comfortable with and who will address your particular concerns about the home you're considering or about their service. And someone who will also be accessible to you after the inspection is completed. If at all possible, talk to the particular individual who will be conducting your inspection before you hire them.
Consider your home inspection an investment. If the inspection reveals that your prospective home is in fine condition, then you can proceed with the purchase as you wish to. If problems are revealed, then you have the option of either compelling the owner to fix the problems before you take possession or receiving money at the closing to finance your fixing the problems. However, if the home inspection uncovers major problems that the owner cannot or will not fix to your satisfaction and will not reduce the home's selling price to allow for, then, depending on the provisions of the contact, you probably do not have to purchase the home. And you will have avoided the substantial expenses for enormous repairs that you would have inherited if you had bought the house. By helping you assess the true condition of a house, a home inspection can either clear the way for your purchase, help assure that you are compensated for any problems you do inherit with the home purchase, or help you avoid the costly mistake of buying a home with problems you want no part of. This investment can pay for itself in savings or help provide you peace of mind with one of the biggest financial commitments you'll ever make.
- Bear in mind, home inspections do have limitations. Home inspectors report what they see. What they can't see, they can't report. So even the best inspection won't reveal hidden problems. Problems behind walls or elsewhere out of sight (and conditions which have been intentionally and skillfully covered up) generally can't be detected and will go unreported. Likewise, home inspectors aren't psychic and thus have no idea of when properly operating systems that exhibit no outward ominous signs will fail. The only way to protect yourself against such situations is by purchasing a home warranty from a reputable source. Ask your home inspection company if you can obtain such a warranty through them.
For a thorough unbiased home inspection in the Chicagoland area,
call American Home Inspectors at:
|American Society of Home Inspectors|
Certified Member #001882
Illinois Home Inspector Entity License #051.000175