1. What is the inspector’s experience?
Were they cleaning carpets or fitting you for shoes last week? Experience is very important in all trades, and especially when it comes to home inspectors.
2. How long have they been performing home inspections in state?
Issues in states can be unique. A home inspector with experience from down south may know boilers and ice damming, but may not know about synthetic stucco (EIFS), heat pumps or mold.
3. How many inspections have they performed?
The more inspection experience someone has, the greater probability you have of finding a professional.
4. How long does the inspection take?
Someone who has done 4,000 inspections, but has only been in business for four years, means they are doing four inspections per day. In other words, you are getting a one-hour inspection. Their inspection software is setup to just fill in the blanks. Aggressive puts no time limits on an inspection.
5. What kind of tools do they have?
A good inspector will have the state required tools that help form an educated and reliable opinion, not just a guess. It also shows commitment to the profession.
6. Do they use infrared?
Many entry level cameras have come on the market, making it easier for an inspector to purchase one. Someone using a camera and doesn’t understand building science can provide false and misleading information. Infrared can only tell the differences in temperature. The tool is sometimes used just to verify the readings of a moisture meter.
7. What type of report format do they use?
If you are from out of the area and the inspector uses multi-part carbonless forms that can’t be emailed, there may be an issue. There are multiple report programs that anyone can click and check. How custom is your report going to be? Will you receive a copy for future reference?
8. When will you receive the report?
If your closing is quick, you may not be able to wait a day, or two, or three, or even much longer. But beware, a rushed report with unverified information can be a disaster. Aggressive guaranties the report in 24 hours and has never been missed in 15 years.
9. Do they have a written service agreement outlining their scope of work?
Never enter into an agreement to have something as expensive as a house inspected without having a written contract (pre-inspection agreement) specifying what the inspector is responsible for.
10. Do they perform repair work on houses they inspect?
This would be an obvious conflict of interest. Other conflicts include paying or accepting commissions for inspection work, collusion with third parties, oil tank, septic, pools, etc.
11. Are they familiar with historically defective building products and building practices?
Do they know about EIFS, aluminum wiring, lead based paint, Chinese drywall, etc.? Often, inspectors dependent upon check lists fail to include or mention these.
12. Are they familiar with building science?
In Jersey, a good working knowledge of building science is critical. Problems can often be detected before they become worse if the inspector understands building science.
13. Does their price reflect the complexity of the inspection?
You will no doubt discover a wide difference in price between home inspection companies. Why is this? Two reasons: complexity of the inspection and qualifications of the inspector. Old, large houses with crawlspaces and problems cost more than small new homes on slab foundations. Also, when talking quality, you get what you pay for.
A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components. Wikipedia