How to Find the Best Home Inspector
There are over 300 active home inspectors in New Hampshire today, with the number increasing monthly, as many inspectors have been lured-in by the promise of easy money. So how do you know which inspector is right for you?
Here are some helpful tips to help you find the perfect home inspector to suit your needs:
1: Don’t trust an inspector simply because he or she has a state license or certification.
As of 2010, the state of NH requires all home inspectors to be licensed, however we advise you to be cautions as not all inspectors deserve the respect sometimes associated with licensing. With the massive influx of new inspectors, on-line training programs have surfaced equally as fast. The on-line training helps prospective inspectors pass the required examination, but does not mean that the inspector will have the hands-on experience the position requires. More on this a bit later…
2: Look for an inspector affiliated with a professional inspection organization.
Not to sound mean , but this will really help to weed-out some of the lesser-qualified inspectors. Do a bit of research and look for inspectors that are members of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors – NACHI (www.nachi.org) or American Society of Home Inspectors – ASHI (www.ashi.org). The top-notch inspectors will be Certified Master Inspectors (certifiedmasterinspector.org). In your research, study the association’s requirements for membership – NACHI and ASHI both require inspectors to participate in annual continuing education and re-certify each year. This means the inspectors are staying on-top of their game and have a solid understanding of building practices.
3: Don’t take your agent’s recommendation at face value.
Realtors frequently recommend inspectors to prospective buyers. In fact, that is the leading source of work for most inspectors. The best Realtors are going to recommend an inspector who is honest, reputable and has no stake in the transaction. Ask for a couple of local inspector names for you to research. Ask your Realtor tough questions, “Would you trust this inspector to inspect your house?” “Have any of your clients not bought a house because of what this inspector has found?” (Hint: you want the answer to be yes!) Make sure your agent and the inspector are not affiliated in any way – there are numerous ‘teams’ in the area where the wife is a Realtor and the husband is an inspector!
4: Interview the Inspector.
Don’t be shy – Inspect the inspector! You are interviewing the inspector to work for you. Yes, it is the inspector’s job to represent the house, but he or she ultimately works for you. Not the seller, not your agent, but you.
- Check for complaints with the inspector’s affiliated organization or with the state of NH: (http://www.nh.gov/jtboard/homeinspectors.htm) or with the Better Business Bureau. Another hint – Don’t take on-line reviews from search engine-based sites at face-value either – many sites allow companies to pay fees so that negative reviews will not show up!
- Ask questions – does the inspector take time to discuss the inspection process with you and answer all of your questions? Ask if you can attend the inspection. The inspector should encourage you to tag-along. If the inspector prefers to work alone without you there, time to move on to the next one…
- Ask what the inspector’s mission statement is. Premier Home Inspection Services, LLC mission is to provide the most professional and comprehensive home inspection available in the communities we serve. Honesty and integrity are first and foremost in everything we do. We pledge to provide outstanding customer service and perform quality work that is second to none.
- Ask about the report process – does your inspector use a hand-written check-list, or is it a comprehensive easy-to-read computerized report filled with comments and pictures? (View a sample report).
- Ask about the inspectors training process – what is his background? Did he attend a classroom based training course with hands-on experience, or an on-line training course? Many of the best home inspectors I have met have some carpentry or contracting experience. Many (not all!) inspectors with a long history of contracting look at things from a builder’s perspective, and not from an inspector’s perspective. There IS a difference! Something to think about…