In 2019, more than 5.34 million homebuyers found new homes.
As part of that process, they almost all needed to get the home inspected. A home inspection gives you an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes and helps you identify repair issues before you commit to buying the house.
An experienced home inspector needs to perform the inspection. However, for many first-time homebuyers, finding someone they can trust can feel overwhelming.
It doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to choose a home inspector you can trust so you can buy your dream home without worry.
1. Start by Talking With Your Real Estate Agent
The best place to start looking for a home inspector is by talking to the people you know. Ask your real estate agent for recommendations. They’re familiar with the industry and can help you narrow down your choices.
If your real estate agent doesn’t have someone they trust, ask your friends and family for advice. Often, someone in your network will know or have previous experience with an inspector and can give you their information.
If you’re completely new to the area and want to have more names to choose from, don’t hesitate to search online for a “home inspector near me.” You’ll still want to do your due diligence with the names the internet pulls up, but you’ll at least have a good place to start.
2. Read up on Reviews
Once you have a few names of local home inspection companies, take the time to research their reputations. Start by reading reviews online and see what their previous clients have to say. If most of them were happy with the inspection report and the quality of service, you’ll likely have the same experience.
However, you’ll also want to pay attention to any complaints people have. See if more than one person mentions the same issues and pay attention to what those issues were.
If the issue seems like a personal disagreement with the inspector, don’t worry about it. However, if the problem stems from the quality of their inspection or the report they generate, keep looking.
3. Make Sure the Company Is Fully Licensed
Once you’ve read up on reviews and know what to expect from the inspector, take the time to research each company. Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone that’s local to the area. This way, they’ll already be familiar with issues common in the neighborhood or city.
You’ll need to make sure the company is fully licensed. Most professional home inspection companies publish their license number on their websites. You can use this number to make sure their license is current with your local government.
If the company isn’t licensed, keep looking. Remember, the home inspection is what tells you if a property is worth what the seller is asking for. You need to be able to trust the inspection report.
4. Look for Inspectors That Only Do Home Inspections
Some home inspectors also provide home repairs. They can provide you with estimates for any needed repairs with your home inspection report.
While this might seem like a great idea and a way to kill two birds with one stone, it’s not in your best interest. You have no way of knowing whether the inspection report accurately reflects the home’s condition or if the inspector is looking to make some extra money.
Look for a home inspection company that provides home inspections and nothing else. This way, you’ll know that they’re being honest with you on the inspection report.
Don’t worry—you can always ask them for referrals of contractors they trust in the area. You just don’t want the inspector to be that contractor.
5. Make Sure You Can Accompany Them During the Inspection
Ideally, you should be able to accompany the inspector when they’re walking through the house. This will help you better understand the types of issues you can expect and the types of repairs you’ll need to take care of.
They’ll be able to point out flaws that you might miss on your walkthrough and will better prepare you for the reality of owning that particular home.
If an inspector doesn’t let homebuyers attend the walkthrough, keep looking.
6. Get Estimates From Several Inspectors
Professional home inspection companies charge for their inspections in different ways. What one company may deem a more expensive job, another may be able to do at a fraction of the cost.
You need to be able to compare their rates before you choose an inspector. Shop around and get quotes from several companies.
Choose the inspector that you feel most confident in working with both in terms of quality and price.
7. Ask for References and Follow up With Them
Once you have a few inspectors you’re willing to work with, take the time to ask for references. Reputable companies always have clients that are willing to discuss their experience with you.
Take the time to follow up with those references and see what their previous clients thought of their work. Ask if they have any concerns about the inspection report or if they ended up finding more issues after move-in that the inspector missed.
As a general rule, if the previous clients would use the inspector again, they’re likely worth working with.
Now You Know How to Choose a Home Inspector
Buying a house can be stressful, but getting your home inspected is one of the most important things you can do. It helps you make sure that the house is worth the money and gives you an idea of the types of repairs you’ll need to take care of.
Now that you know how to choose a home inspector, you’re ready to start contacting companies. Remember, it’s okay to take your time and you don’t have to go with the inspector your real estate agent recommends. Always go with your gut and choose a company that you feel you can trust.
If you’re looking for more helpful tips to make the home buying process easier, check out our latest posts.