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Thursday, October 25, 2007

How to Choose an Inspector

When choosing an inspector, you want to find someone who is professional, knowledgeable, and pleasant to work with. So how do you figure out who fits that description? Ask people you know for recommendations. Your Realtor will likely have a few names and possibly even you know someone who has bought a house recently. Then call and talk to a few different inspectors on the phone. The phone call is not just for quantitative information like cost, time, etc. It is also to see whether they are willing to take the time to talk to you and how they respond to your questions.

Ask if you can attend the inspection. As I said in my previous blog: I highly recommend that you do. It will give you the opportunity to ask questions and learn about your potential new home. Most inspectors are happy to explain what they are doing and why it is important. They will also answer any questions you have that come up at a later time. If the inspector doesn’t want you to attend, or is impatient at answering your questions, find someone else.

When you call the inspector, he will also have some questions for you, so have this information handy:

  • address of the house to be inspected
  • square footage of the house (could affect the cost)
  • year home was built
  • type of foundation (could affect the cost)
  • sellers disclosure (some want to see it, some don’t)
  • any concerns you may have

The inspector may not inspect atypical systems or items, such as swimming pools, wells, or septic systems, and some inspectors will not conduct environmental tests or wood-destroying insect inspections. Be sure to ask when you are making the appointment and whether it will incur an extra charge. If they do not, you will need to make those appointment separately.

Here is a list of questions for quick reference:
• How long have you been licensed in Texas?
• Are you a full-time home inspector?

• How much do you charge?
• What could cause an additional charge?
• How much would you charge if I ask for a reinspection after repairs are completed?

• What will the inspection include?
• Do you inspect gas lines, swimming pools, spas, septic systems, and wells? (You can identify other atypical systems or items.) Do you charge extra for these?
• How long will the inspection typically take? (Anything less than two hours is not long enough for a thorough inspection.)

• Will you supply a written report? (The inspector should.)
• When can I expect to receive the written report?
• Can I attend the inspection?
• Can I call you with questions that come up later?

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