4. Can you provide references?
Similar to a standard job interview question, most credible inspectors will be able to provide the names and other contact information of previous clients so that you can qualify his or her competencies to perform a thorough, concise, and detailed inspection. Do not hesitate to call at least three previous clients to ask them about their experience with their home inspector and the inspection process as a whole.
5. What does your inspection cover?
The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report aligns with the requirements of the respective state and that they meet standards of practice including a code of ethics. You should be able to acquire a document identifying these items so that you can ask any questions you may have. At the conclusion of any home inspection process, inspectors will prepare and then provide their findings in a documented report. Ask to see one of the inspector’s previous reports. He or she should be able to provide you with a document that identifies the extent of their evaluation and reporting process.
6. How much do you charge?
Costs vary, depending on geography, location, home size, home age, the scope of services and other factors. The range may be from $200-$600. It’s important, however, to help your buyers consider the cost of the home inspection as it may easily be offset in terms of repair and maintenance costs.
Perhaps paying for a home inspection is considered difficult for some in the same way that paying for an expensive motorcycle helmet can be for a motorcycle enthusiast. All motorcycle riders know what a great feeling it is to finally purchase that one-of-a-kind bike. It doesn’t matter if it is a dirt bike, a street bike or a cross between, the feeling is the same. Here’s where the comparison comes in: Although they all spend thousands for that perfect bike, these enthusiasts hesitate to buy an expensive helmet. Because their budgets were based on the purchase of the bike, they opt for the helmet that barely meets the Department of Motorcycle’s specifications. The pragmatic person would say that it doesn’t matter how much the bike costs, the helmet price should be dictated by its qualities. Without hesitation, any rider of any bike (expensive or otherwise) should buy the most expensive helmet they can afford because doing so may mean that he or she can live another day and enjoy the livelihood previously enjoyed in the unfortunate event that an accident does occur.
So the same type of comparison can be made in regards to the home inspection. The frugal buyer might squabble over $200 or $300, but it may be the best money they ever spend. With this consideration in mind, it can be argued that the wide range in the price inspectors charge from one to another has less to do with offering the same service, and more to do with offering different services. That is, those that charge less may be doing less. Those that charge more may be doing a better job of inspecting homes and doing a better job of disclosing more of the homes’ true condition and true market value. For these reasons, many reputable inspectors will suggest that the only reason the “how much do you charge” question should be asked is because buyers will eventually need to pay for the inspection, not because they are price shopping. Still, changing the mindset of the frugal home buyer (and thrifty motorcyclist) may easier be said than done.
7. May I and my buyers be present at the inspection?
An inspectors refusal to allow you or the buyers attendance is a blatant red flag. Regardless of the property inspection situation, you both should always be welcomed by the inspector to be present during property inspections.
Also, if you are the buyer’s agent and the buyer’s schedule does not allow him or her to attend the inspection, you should reschedule the event. Inspections provide a unique opportunity for the buyer to understand the true value of the property. When a buyer is present, and an inspector identifies a problem, the buyer can ask questions to clarify the cause and significance of the situation. Being present during the inspection also allows the buyer to ask questions that he or she would not have considered if they were not in attendance. If the buyer is not present during the inspection and he or she later becomes dissatisfied with your representation, the buyer may have a strong argument that you did not adequately communicate the inspector’s findings. If they are in attendance, however, this possibility becomes less likely.
Remember if an inspector does not want you or your buyer there that is a red flag.