Choosing a home inspector is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. You’ll want to go with someone who’s experienced, credentialed, and trustworthy—your new home is a major investment, so the inspection carries a lot of significance, and it isn’t an ideal time to cut costs.
When you’re ready to have your prospective new home inspected, consider these suggestions from experienced experts on what to do—and what NOT to do.
1. DON’T Blindly Accept The Seller’s Recommendation
The seller or realtor has a vested interest in one particular thing—and that’s making sure the deal closes as planned. We’re not suggesting that the realtor you’re working with doesn’t have your best interests in mind. In fact, they may simply know a great home inspector because they’re familiar with the ins and outs of the real estate business.
That being said, do the same research with your realtor’s recommended inspector as you would before hiring anyone. Contrast their experience and prices with at least a few other inspectors, and use resources such as Angie’s List to compare consumer reviews.
2. DO Accompany the Inspector
You’ll have a much better understanding of the actual problems in the home if you come along with the home inspector for the actual inspection. Since you’re likely not a professional, the exact details of the home’s issues and needs—and their relative importance—can be confusing if they’ve only been related second-hand. By accompanying the inspector, you can see the house’s inner workings in the most up-close and personal way—not to mention ask relevant questions as they work.
3. DO Estimate Costs Before Closing
Once the home inspection is complete, you’ll have a better idea of where you stand financially. You’ll know what changes need to be made, and you can make a fairly accurate estimate of the total costs required to ensure that the home is in the necessary state before (and after) moving in.
There will be further costs down the road—for example, major appliances with limited lifetimes that will need to be replaced in a few years. By calculating these costs before closing, you can feel more comfortable with your decision—and reduce the risk of unwelcome surprises.
4. DON’T Make Assumptions about the Future
No one knows what’s going to happen two, five, ten, or thirty years down the line—not you, and not the best available home inspector. The inspector can give you a better idea of how your home with hold up in the longer term, but nothing is for certain. If you assume the best-case scenario, you might find yourself in the worst-case scenario financially.