Posted on August 23, 2017
Is It Necessary To Hire A Home Inspector Prior To Buying Or Selling A Home In California?
Home inspections should only be conducted by a qualified home inspector. There are many reputable home inspection services available throughout California. Professional Home Inspectors in Sacramento, CA will carry credentials to prove that they have undergone special training for this task and to bring out their reliability for discovering any damaged, or in need of repair, areas inside or surrounding the house.
If you are looking into buying a home in California, or if you are considering putting up your property for sale, one of the most important things you need to do is to get a home inspection on the property. A home inspection is a non-invasive check into the condition of a property to highlight any areas which need repairing or which are badly damaged.
Inspectors will check every area of the home such as the roof, the basement, air conditioners, plumbing, electrical connections and any other area or fixture of the house which may be prone to breaking or failing. They will also examine the home from the point of view of improper building practices such as poor contracting services in the past, which could create problems after a purchase and show that the home may not be of good value for the asking price. Other important areas include looking into how well it is being maintained, regarding the age of the home, the life expectancy of fixtures, and finding out structural areas of the home which need extensive repairs.
After completing the inspection, the home inspector will issue an inspection report which details out all their findings. As a buyer, a home inspection Sacramento CA report will tell you about the entire condition of the property that you wish to purchase. If you feel that some conditions need only nominal repairs, you can negotiate their repair fees with the seller.
On the other hand, if the conditions are pretty bad, the inspection could actually save you from buying a property which will require considerable expenditures for repairs after your purchase.
As a seller, getting a Sacramento home inspection done before you put your property for sale lets you know on what needs to be done to improve property condition. You will have a better chance of getting the price you want on the sale of the home, rather than have buyers point out errors and then haggle for a reduced price, or insist that the repairs be completed at your expense.
Where Do I Find The Best Home Inspection Service In California?
Choosing the right home inspector can be a daunting task, especially if you have never hired one before. When you are finished with this article you should know what questions to ask when interviewing prospective inspectors.
Since all licensed inspectors are required to adhere to the same standards, many people believe all home inspectors are equal. Nothing could be further from the truth. If two inspectors were to inspect the same house, the inspection reports and findings could be quite different. Simply stated, some inspectors try harder, are more experienced, and are more thorough than others. For example, some inspectors examine the roof by walking on it, climb up into the attic and into crawl spaces under the house while others don't. Which is why you should attend your inspection, to make sure the inspector is doing their job. Here are some other factors you should consider when choosing the right home inspector:
Home Inspectors Licensing- Verify the inspector is properly licensed. Most states require home inspectors to be licensed, check with your state's real estate board to find out.
Home Inspector Experience- It may surprise you to learn that anyone can become a licensed home inspector, and in very little time. While experience in the construction industry is very helpful, it is not required. This may change in the future, but as of now, a person just has to attend the required hours at an approved home inspection school and pass the state home inspection test and they are considered a professional home inspector, although they have never inspected a single home in their life. The inspector you hire may be performing their first inspection ever.
Professional Affiliations- Most home inspectors join a professional organization to take advantage of the benefits and sharpen their skills since these organizations also require continuing education hours for membership. Inspectors can also learn from each other at meetings and conventions. Texas Law requires home inspectors to complete 16 hours of approved continued education per year. The most prominent of these associations are ASHI, NAHI, NACHI and TAREI.
Insurance- Texas recently adopted a new law requiring home inspectors to carry a minimum of $100,000 of professional liability insurance. This is required at license renewal, so at this time, some Texas home inspectors may not carry it yet.
Ask to see a sample of the inspector's report - This should give you an idea of how thorough the inspections are and if the inspector includes pictures of defects. Most inspectors use computer generated reports and some post them on their website for you to review, or he or she can email you a copy.
Should I Choose an Inspector Referred by a Realtor? - That really depends on how much trust you place in your agent. Some agents want you to use an inspector who does a quick inspection and writes basically nothing in the reports so the transaction goes through fast and easy. More professional agents want you to have the best inspection possible, after all it's their reputation on the line when they make referrals. If you are unsure if you should let the agent choose the home inspector for you or not, then seek out your own.
Don't Choose the Cheapest Inspector - Please believe me when I make that statement. I get calls from potential clients daily. Many times price is the first question they ask about. I don't think it's because people are cheap, I think it's because they don't know what else to ask. While I understand that no one wants to pay more than they have to, you do get what you pay for. The cheapest inspectors are usually new, inexperienced, or ones performing inspections as a sideline. I know of one customer who was determined to hire the cheapest inspector she could find. After the sale she discovered her insurance company would not insure her roof because the shingles were installed over old wooden shingles, which were clearly visible from the attic. She wound up paying for a whole new roof (about $6,000), all because she tried to save a mere $25.00 in inspection fees. The average cost of a home inspection in the USA is $380.00 (USA Today... Friday, January 13,2006)
Here is a list of questions I've put together for you which you can use when interviewing potential home inspectors:
1. How long have you had your license and been inspecting homes? 2. Do you carry Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance? 3. On average, how long does it take you to perform a typical home inspection? Through inspectors will take about three hours on a typical home. 4. How long does it take for me to get my inspection report back from you in electronic format? 5. Are you a member of a professional association? 6. Do you perform re-inspections on repaired items? If so, for how much? 7. Do you mind if I follow along while you inspect? Your inspector works for you and should allow you to learn as much about the house as possible. 8. What is your inspection fee? If the inspection fee seems too low, you may not get a thorough inspection. 9. Do you have any references I can speak to?
What Do House Inspectors Look For?
25 years ago, a home inspection was a rare thing, and professional home inspectors were few and far between. Now, nearly every buyer knows that they should get an inspection, and there is a seemingly endless supply of inspectors, all claiming some 'certification' or credentials that sound impressive. But how do you know which is the right inspector for you?
Well, here are a few simple thoughts from someone inside the business (some of which, many inspectors will be upset with me for revealing, and will hope you won't read them). Interview them personally. Don't just take someone's advice that "this guy is good." Talk to them.
Ask them about what they do (and don't do - many don't walk roofs, some don't give repair cost estimates). Ask them about their reports (simple checklist, or descriptive narrative?) Do they provide repair cost estimates? Are they licensed (if necessary in your sate)? How long have they been in business? What is their background and/or training? Are they members of the BBB or Angie's List or other consumer oriented groups? Most importantly, do they treat you with respect and listen to what your needs are?
You will quickly find that there is a world of difference in Inspectors and how they view YOU, the client, as part of the inspection. Some see you as a necessary evil, or an interruption of "their" inspection. You will know you have hired one of these inspectors if they hand you a measuring tape to keep you busy measuring rooms while they inspect.
Often on inspector chat boards they talk about "controlling" their inspection, as if the client is a bother. Never forget: The inspection is (and SHOULD be) all about YOUR education, and making YOU comfortable with your new home.
E & O Insurance.
Ask your inspector if they are insured. Many inspectors treat this question as if you have just asked them for their Debit Card and PIN, but it is a legitimate and VERY intelligent question for clients to ask. You wouldn't let an uninsured plumber work on your pipes, would you? So why allow an uninsured inspector advise you on the entire home and all of its systems and components? E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance is your protection that if the inspector misses something significant, that you won't be left paying for that mistake.
My dad always said: "There is no substitute in life for experience." (He also said, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.") This is also true when it comes to inspectors. While some may have read it in the best books available, you simply have to learn some things by doing them. (Like, for example, never test the door to a room by closing it from the inside of the room. The reason why will be instantly clear when the knob falls off in your hand and you are stuck on the interior.)
You will know just by talking to an inspector and asking them the questions listed above whether you are talking to a raw "newbie" or a seasoned pro. Some pride themselves on "writing up" lots of defects, but often, many of these items are actually quite common and relatively minor (the kinds of things most sellers won't address or compensate for). Some inspectors also pride themselves on being disliked by Realtors. This simply mystifies me since most Realtors I know honestly care about putting their client in a good home, and respect the opinion of the inspector. Most times, this indicates to me an inspector who is a little full of himself, and may be out to prove how much he knows, or wants to make a major deal out of a minor issue.
Certifications are a dime a dozen in the inspection industry. Every day, my email inbox is jammed with people selling more quick and easy "certifications" of this and that. In fact, one place will certify you (yes, you) as a "master" inspector if you take several free online courses and send them a check for $375 - without ever performing a single inspection! As you can see, certifications are highly suspect. Professionally, the ones that are truly significant are offered by the International Code Council (ICC) and certify that the inspector has a detailed understanding of current building code (particularly helpful if you are purchasing new construction).
In general, I would recommend an inspector who has performed at least 1,000 inspections, and has at least 3 years experience - but even among these, you must ask the other questions to get the best fit for your needs.
Does the inspector offer choices to accommodate you? All buyers are not the same. All homes are not the same. So why do most inspectors offer the same inspection to all clients? Ask if they offer choices in prices, level of detail, and services offered. An investor seeking an opinion on the basic components (structure, roof, electrical, plumbing, HVAC) of a home they intend to renovate may not need the meticulous detail required by a nervous First Time Buyer. Don't be afraid to ask for what you really need, even if it seems to be more (or less) than what the inspector typically offers. If the inspector you speak to can't offer the service you need, keep searching, you will find one that does.
Which brings us to the last point, and the first question most people ask: "How much does an inspection cost?" The answer is - it depends (mostly on your area of the country, and the size of your home). Most inspectors base the price on square feet (the larger the home, the longer it takes to inspect). Be cautious of those who use price or zip code as a determining factor (buying a more expensive home in a more affluent neighborhood can dramatically increase your price with these inspectors who believe you must have more money to spend). Shop prices around. You CAN and WILL find a reasonably priced inspector who is every bit as good or better than the highest priced inspectors.
A good clue is: If someone doesn't post their prices on their website, they are higher than is typical. Again, many inspectors will react rudely with some variation of "you get what you pay for." Ask that inspector if they buy Premium Unleaded at the most expensive gas station in town, and then look through the grocery store circulars to find the highest priced items available - after all, they must be the best if they are the most expensive!