Real Estate 101: Choosing the Right Home Inspector

by : Eric Bramlett

After you have found the home that seems to be the one that you want to purchase, it is time to get a home inspection completed. You can enlist in the services of your Realtor to help you find a great inspector, but you should not rely entirely upon your Realtor to tell you which inspector you should use. After all, the home you will be purchasing will be your property and, if you choose a poor real estate agent, you might actually be referred to an inspector that performs a poor inspection. Therefore, you should keep a few things in mind when selecting a professional to conduct the home inspection.

Why Have a Home Inspection in the First Place?

Having a home inspection performed is an important component of the buying process. In essence, the home inspection helps to ensure that you are purchasing what you think you are buying. In other words, the inspection can help to uncover any hidden problems that you may not have noticed when you looked at the home.

If the report the inspector provides shows that there are problems, you should then use this information in order to go back to the drawing board with your Realtor and with the seller. If there are problems with the home, you may be able to negotiate a lower price or you may be able to insist that the seller make the necessary repairs before the deal is closed.

Checking the Inspector's Licensure

When you begin the process of selecting an inspector, you should first look into the various inspectors' licensures. Depending upon the state in which you live, there may an established standard of practice or educational requirements set in place. If this is the case, request a copy of the state standards from the inspector and make sure he or she is properly licensed.

In addition to the state requirements, it is also a good idea to select a professional that is a member of one of two different professional standards organizations: the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Both of these organizations are reputable and insist that their members meet certain standards of excellence. It is even more important to look for an inspector belonging to one of these organizations if your state does not have established licensing standards.

Getting Properly Educated

The level of education of the inspector is another factor that you should consider. Ideally, the inspector should have at least a bachelor's degree. In this way, you can take comfort in knowing that the person has the necessary critical thinking skills to analyze potential problems and safety hazards within the home.

If the inspector is a member of ASHI or NAHI, you can be certain that he or she has attained a certain amount of education. In fact, members of these organizations will have passed a national test that is administered by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors. In addition, members of these organizations have to complete continuing education requirements in order to maintain their memberships.

By looking for an inspector with these characteristics, as well as finding one that is properly insured with Errors and Omissions Insurance, you will be able to tell your Realtor to finalize the deal with confidence that you are making a good decision.