The American Society of Home Inspectors has outlined a list of standards and things to look for when someone inspects your home. However, that doesn’t mean anyone calling himself a home inspector is a good one. Don’t be fooled just because someone hands you a professional-looking business card. In some states, virtually anyone can call himself a home inspector, even if he has little training or experience. That’s why it’s critical that you carefully research your options so you hire only the most reputable and experienced inspector.
What or Who Lurks in Your Home?
You obviously don’t want to live in a home with pests and bugs so it’s important that your home inspector knows how to identify signs of infestation. Sure, the inspector absolutely must take the time to evaluate the home’s foundation, wiring, plumbing and other critical elements. But make sure he or she doesn’t skip over evidence of animal or insect habitation.
Ask for a wood-boring pest inspection, which looks for termite damage or infestations. Also get a termite inspection by a professional trained to identify whether the home has existing damage and/or a colony of termites that want to share your space with you.
A qualified pest inspector will examine the structure closely and will be on the lookout for evidence of damage that various unwanted inhabitants may have caused. This person will also inspect for colonies and infestations so you will know whether the house needs treatment to get rid of the pests. Again, be sure you choose someone who is certified to do the job so you know you can count on the results. After all, you don’t want to find out after the sale that you have pest-inflicted damage and unwanted house guests.
What If Your Dream Home Has Squatters?
Imagine discovering that another person has been squatting in the empty home you are considering buying. Not only might you be unaware of any damage that person may have caused, but it can become a dangerous situation as well. In fact, according to experts across the nation, foreclosed and empty homes are a lure to squatters who use the residence as a resting place while it stands uninhabited. The frightening thing is that many of these squatters become violent or territorial toward a home inspector or potential homebuyer. A good home inspector is trained to deal with squatters and is also able to look for evidence that someone has been squatting in the home you might want to buy. Be ready for the possibility of police involvement.
Choosing the Right Inspector
Hiring a home inspector should never be a rash decision. Besides investigating credentials and qualifications, you should get a couple of recommendations from people you trust. If a friend or co-worker has previously used an inspector and that person comes highly recommended, that inspector may be your best option. Talk to more than one inspector before choosing one so that you know what you’re getting and feel comfortable with the inspector you choose. Finally, ask to see an inspector’s resume, reviews and proof of insurance. By talking thoroughly to potential home inspectors, you should soon get a pretty good idea as to who is your best bet. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying life in your new home…alone.