3 Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector
- Did you pay for a referral? Home inspectors can pay referral fees to real estate agents when the inspector does a home inspection for one of their clients. While this is not illegal, it should raise a few flags for the home buyer. Is a home inspector going to be truly impartial when they are paying to get business from your real estate agent?A home inspector works for YOU. Their report should be unbiased, uncompromising, objective and thorough. Ours are, and it’s one of the reasons some real estate agents might call us “deal killers”. We do not pay / receive any compensation to / from real estate agents, appraisers, lawyers or anyone else in the real estate, construction industry or elsewhere. When you get a Grassroots inspection, you can be sure that we’ve done our best to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy a property.
- Do you provide on-site reports? From our perspective, providing a report to our clients on-site leaves our clients emotionally vulnerable to perceived pressure-to-close in a real estate transaction. Consider this: When the inspection is over, your real estate agent will likely be with you on-site asking if you’ve read the report and whether you’re ready to sign off on your Offer to Purchase condition that the inspection has been met. We prefer you take the necessary time needed to read & understand your report thoroughly…and that’s why we don’t provide on-site reporting. Having a report immediately available to clients means there is a possibility you will feel pressured to close the deal before you’ve really had a good opportunity to thoroughly digest the contents of the report. After all, it’s designed to reduce your exposure from additional expenses down the road. Also consider: If you do truly have time to read through a home inspector’s report in a just few minutes on-site immediately after the inspection, it the report detailed enough for you to understand the true condition of the property before you buy. Besides, our inspectors want to go back to the office after the inspection and do any additional research into situations about the property we think are important. Once an inspector has decided they have investigated an issue thoroughly, they will add their additional findings to the final inspection report so you can have the best possible information on which to base your buying decision when they meet with you to review it.
- How much experience do you have doing home inspections? The more, the better. Someone who was an electrician for 20 years but who has only been inspecting homes for 3 months is not an experienced home inspector. What training have they had actually doing inspections? A few other things to consider about inspectors who use various gadgets as part of their inspections. True, infrared cameras have their place, but they also have limitations. For example, an infrared camera often obtains best results at night or early in the morning , in the winter or the middle of summer, when there are larger temperature variations between the indoors and outdoors. Similarly, a moisture meter isn’t going to find many problems with foundation cracks if there hasn’t been sufficient rain to make things wet. And…an infrared camera nor a moisture meter can detect any wet conditions unless they are in fact wet at the time of the inspection. Ultimately, regardless of the equipment used, it’s the experience of the inspector that counts the most.
Other points to consider:
- Ask for their qualifications. Home inspection is unregulated in many parts of Canada. There are many professional, well-trained home inspectors. There are many more who are not.
- How long is the average inspection? If it’s an hour or so, it’s not long enough.
- Can you attend the inspection? The answer should be yes. If it is no, find another inspector.
- A qualified inspector should be able to provide approximate cost for repairs and improvements. or point you in the right direction as to how to find out.
- Can you call at a later date for information or advice? A professional inspector and or their office will keep a copy of your report on file as a reference so you should be able to call if necessary.
- Most good, full-time professional inspectors are booked a few days in advance. When you write your offer of purchase, budget enough time to complete all your conditional activities such as home inspections, appraisals etc. We suggest between 5~8 business days.
- As with most things, including a home inspection, you generally get what you pay for. There will always be another company less expensive or an inspector willing to offer a discount. It is well worth the expense to get a professional home inspection conducted by an experienced, fully qualified inspector.
- References: any professional home inspector should be able to provide them.