While a home inspection is now a given when purchasing a new home, hiring a professional home inspector does not guarantee that a newly purchased house isnt harboring any unpleasant surprises. What does that mean for the home buyer? More costs that turn out to be completely useless?
By and large, home inspectors or just home inspectors in general are poorly regulated. The level of performance of each professional varies widely. In fact, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), a trade group based in Des Plaines, Illinois, only about 14 states require occupational licenses. And among those that do require licenses, only very few follow the lead of New Jersey, where inspectors must pass a lengthy written test and perform as many as 400 inspections. Not only that, but on some cases, they are even required to complete a training program at a state-approved home inspection school before being accredited.
home inspectors and other such inspectors in many other states do not require certification requirements at all. Then, again, home inspectors are an indispensable workforce for the home buying community. So what do you, as a home buyer, have to do to protect your interest and hire a truly professional home inspector?
Heres a list of what you can do to get the most out of your home inspection.
Look for the Inspection Clause
The great thing about home inspectors these days is that their work is so popular that not only home buyers require them, but home sellers as well. In fact, a lot of home sellers hire home inspectors to assess their homes in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises when theyre ready to close on a sale. Other times, they include an inspection clause in their real estate contract. This is what you should be looking for.
A typical contract allows home buyers ten or so days after signing to have the property inspected. And although it is not always the case, it is important that your contract includes a clause for a home inspector. The results of the inspection can be used to ask the seller to fix trouble spots, or to adjust the selling price to cover the cost of necessary repairs.
With the absence of any state laws regulating the licensing of home inspectors, the best place to turn to would be trade associations. These types of organizations usually have a better barometer of a home inspectors experience and skills than the typical word of mouth references you get either from your real estate agent or a few friends.
Get the Results in Writing
After performing an inspection, a home inspector is required to give you a copy of the report he made in a few days. Pay attention to this report as it is often an excellent gauge of how exhaustive the work is. If its little more than a checklist, then its insufficient. A complete report is even 20 to 100 pages long.
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