A Consumer Awareness Guide for choosing a home inspector that is right for you.
Since home inspection is a relatively small cost start up business and low barrier to entry, it is critical that you find a professional. You will find persons on many different levels of competence, with varying experience, different price ranges and dissimilar tool boxes.
1. What is his/her background and experience? There are no industry pre-requisites like construction or code knowledge or internships.
2. What certifications do they hold? The home inspection industry is flooded with “Certifications.” Some inspectors attain all of their qualifications from one place. Some certifications are simply paid for.
3. Do they have any state or code authority certifications? Previous contractor experience is a real plus especially if they are inspecting new construction. The International Code Council (ICC) issues certifications like Building/Electrical/Mechanical/Plumbing Inspector, etc.
4. How long have they been performing home inspections in Florida? Issues in Florida can be unique. A home inspector with experience up north may know boilers and ice damming, but may not know about synthetic stucco (EIFS), heat pumps or mold.
5. How many inspections have they performed? The more inspection experience one has, the greater probability you have of finding a professional. Be careful, however, of those who perform 4-6 inspections per day.
6. How long does the inspection take? The industry average is 1.5 hours, our average is 2 to 3 times that. The more you know, the longer it takes. When you can’t recognize defects, you can move much faster.
7. What kind of tools do they have? A good inspector will have a lot of tools that help form an educated and reliable opinion not just a guess. It also shows commitment to the profession. Some tools are so expensive, most inspectors will not invest the money.
8. Do they use infrared? If so, are they a Certified Thermographer? Many entry level cameras have come on the market making it easy for an inspector to purchase one. Someone using a low-end camera that doesn’t understand building science can provide false and misleading information.
9. What type of report format do they use? In this day and age, there is really no excuse not to employ good software that includes pictures, videos and live links.
10. When will you receive the report? Inspectors will range from on-site delivery to days.
11. What will the inspection company do as far as indoor air quality? Some inspectors flat out do nothing, others may offer to do mold sampling. Do they know building science for hot/humid climates and can they source the cause?
12. Do they perform repair work on houses they inspect? This would be an obvious conflict of interest and illegal in Florida. Other conflicts include paying or accepting commissions for inspection work.
13. Are they familiar with historically defective building products and building practices? Do they know about FPE, Zinsco, LP,GP, Masonite, polybutelene, EIFS, aluminum wiring, PEX, etc? Often, inspectors dependent upon check lists fail to include or mention these.
14. Are they familiar with building science? In Florida, a good working knowledge of building science is critical. Problems can often be detected before they become problems if the inspector understands building science.
15. Do they perform a life time safety recall check of major appliances? There are millions of recalled appliances. Are any of them in your house? You should find out and track them!
16. Does their price reflect the complexity of the inspection? You will no doubt discover a wide difference in price between home inspection companies. Why is this? Two basic reasons – complexity of the inspection and qualifications of the inspector. Look at the experience, credentials, technology and time spent at the inspection, then consider the value of the investment…and the risk. Someone with little or no experience can only compete on price. No home inspector will catch 100% of the problems, but some will shed far more light on them than others.
17. Does the company have business systems in place? A company with staffing, with office administration software, inspection software, an organizational chart, contact, distribution and training systems will be in business long after those who schedule their inspections from the attic.
18. Does the company provide warranties? Some inspectors provide limited warranties that cover structure, AC systems, appliances, underground water/sewer lines, mold, a 5 year roof leak repair and 1 year structural warranty. Others offer nothing more than your money back.
19. Does the company offer advanced inspections? Sewer scoping? Pool leak detection? Bonding and stray voltage inspections around pools? Advanced mechanical? Refrigerant leak detection? Mold testing? Infrared? Manufactured home tie down certification?
20. What kind of insurances do they have in place? A company with only a State minimum general liability policy may illustrate a limited ability to handle expensive issues. A company without an errors and omissions policy offers the consumer very limited and expensive options when they feel they have been harmed. Are the inspectors covered by Workers Compensation?
At Inspectagator we hold State licenses as mold assessors and remediators as well as other certifications. Check out several short videos on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/inspectagator) that will explain and show you the great differentiator! Get Orange, Blue & Green Clean and Move In Safe today! https://inspectagator.com/move-in-safe-sanitization/ Our facebook page is full of information and short videos, https://www.facebook.com/theinspectagator/ If you’re looking for a great home inspection company, I just happen to know one, please check out our home inspection company, the Inspectagator, at http://www.inspectagator.com