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.
Do You Need A Home Inspection?
Buying a new house? If you are like most people, this is probably the largest investment you will ever make. Most likely, one of the conditions of sale will be that you have a home inspection performed, usually within a few days, and are satisfied with the results. An analysis of the property, conducted by a specially trained and completely objective home inspector, can identify non-functioning systems, damaged building components, safety issues and poor-quality installations. But how do you find a good, objective home inspector?
Finding A Good Home Inspector
Most people don't know where to start looking and simply ask their real estate agent to recommend someone. Though this approach is certainly easiest, it may not provide the best inspector for you. Many home buyers look in the phone book for an inspector. Or do a search on the Internet. Or ask their friends and family for the name of an inspector they have used in the past. Which one is best?
Chances are you will not get to meet the person you hire before he or she shows up to inspect the house you are buying. Before this, your first contact will be on the phone. Here is your chance to ask questions and see if he or she is a good fit for you. Most people's main concern here is price. How much do you charge for a home inspection? Let me say, if you want a thorough inspection done on the property expect to pay at least $250.00, and maybe up to $600.00 or more, depending on where you live. If you pay anything less than this, plan to be disappointed.
Many inspectors offer what they call a "walk-through" inspection. Though inexpensive, the inspector is not going to go on the roof, or in the attic or crawlspace. Unfortunately, these are the very places where major (read expensive) problems are likely to occur. The inspection may be cheap, but you're probably not going to find out anything about the house you don't already know.
Experience Or Education
How long has the inspector been in business? Or what experience does he or she have? The assumption here is that if the inspector has been in business a long time or has more experience, he or she must be better than the other guy. While there is some validity to this, education is much more important. Someone may have been a roofer for years before becoming a home inspector. This doesn't mean he knows anything about plumbing, or electricity, or heating. We've all heard stories about horrible home inspectors.
Training through the local, community colleges in an accredited home inspection program is your first assurance that the inspector you are hiring is familiar with all aspects of a home. Second, make sure the inspector is a member in good standing with either ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors), iNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors), and OAHI (Ontario Association of Home Inspectors) in Ontario. All these associations require a high level of training and continuing education to maintain their membership. Third, make your you can attend the inspection and ask questions. This is really the best way for you to learn all about the home's systems and maintenance requirements. And fourth, find your own home inspector!
When you sign an Agreement To Purchase, one of the conditions usually includes having a home inspection performed to your satisfaction to ensure there is nothing wrong with the home that may have gone unnoticed during your initial visit. Your real estate agent will want you to do a home inspection for your own protection, but mostly because it reduces their liability and satisfies their requirement for full disclosure. If you think about it for a minute, at this point, the real estate agent does not want to lose the sale and will not recommend any inspector that could jeopardize his or her commission.
In real-estate circles there are inspectors that are known as "deal-breakers". These are inspectors that are known to be very thorough and objective when examining a home. These inspectors don't go easy on a home. They are working for you, and only you, not the real-estate agent or the seller. This is the inspector you want to get. Unfortunately, you will never get a referral from a real estate agent for a "deal-breaker".
Find Your Own Home Inspector
Your best bet for finding a good home inspector that will work for you, is to ask your friends and family who they have used and recommend. Ask if the inspector they used uncovered any hidden problems or saved them money. You don't want an inspector that is recommended simply because he was easy going or cheap.
Look on the Internet. If you live in Leamington, Ontario, do a search for something like "home inspector Leamington Ontario". I suggest you include the province or else you end up with inspectors from the USA or UK. Look at all you find and call a few. The quality of the website more than likely speaks to the quality of the home inspector.
Look in the phone book. Here you will find inspectors that have been around for awhile or are part of a franchise. Many of the best inspectors don't advertise in the phone book as all their work comes from word-of-mouth. Again, ask people you know.
The bottom line is that you should find your own home inspector. If your real estate agent discourages you from using your own inspector, or insists you use one of their "recommended" inspectors, then that agent is not looking out for your best interests. Remember, this may well be your home. Protect your investment. Find your own home inspector.
Can You Get A Home Inspection Before Making An Offer?
Some thoughts on how to choose a Home Inspector
I will attempt to break down this question as we are seeing some really strange trends in our current economy and housing Market.
As I've been a Home Inspector in Lancaster CA for many years I'm often asked the same question over and over again. Clients, friends and many other "folks" want to know what separates one Home Inspector from the next. I will begin with a variation of a checklist that can be found at my website linked in this article.
When choosing someone to inspect your Real Estate Purchase it's important to remember a few things:
I recommend Making a "Checklist" and calling a few Home Inspectors in your area - try not to book the first one you call! You'll notice in a series of recommendations I have YOU ASK... I didn't mention PRICE until the end.
By the way, if our "candidate" is in the middle of an inspection and needs to call back, that's fine! Don't get into a hurry!
Experience - Ask the Home Inspector "What type of experience do you have. How long have you been in business? What type of Industry related experience do you have besides being an inspector?"
We're trying to get an idea as to how long our "candidate" has been around and what his or her background may be. I'm sorry to say but we don't want newbies inspecting our expensive purchases. I also don't want someone who... no offense here, was working at a Retail Store this or last year and is now responsible for helping me decide on the most expensive purchase that most of us will ever make.
Are you a member of a Professional Organization and are you "Certified"? The answer here should be YES.
This topic has some debate as to which certifying body is "better", I could care less. It's like saying your Real Estate Agent is better because they are from one large firm and not the other. The idea here is that an inspector has made a commitment to be a professional. If they are not a member of Nachi, ASHI or NAHI to name a few... I'd want to know why!
Do you carry Insurance? The only answer here is YES.
If you are a buyer or a Real Estate agent, recognize the fact that most professional and full time inspectors carry insurance. If you as an Agent are "shopping" for your client, be careful if your inspector doesn't have insurance, you may be liable as the "referring party".
Are you INDEPENDENT? The answer here should be again, YES
Sorry if this sounds bad, but most Good inspectors I know are independent inspectors... Distant from any binding agreements with "outside" parties limiting their scope and ability to "talk freely" about their thoughts and findings.
Are you LICENSED? The answer here will vary, check with your local areas or state's website.
Many states (no Licenses are required in California by the way) have License Requirements for Home Inspectors that require State Licenses. Inquire with your State's Website before you call an inspector. As a Home Inspector in Lancaster CA we have very few requirements here, but this will vary from state to state and area to area.
Who will perform my Inspection? Preferably, the answer for this one is "Me"
Here is another one that I get some "flack" for. In a perfect world, the person answering the phone will be the person inspecting your Real Estate purchase. A couple of reasons for this include: A Real Estate Inspection can be a liability if performed poorly and should be done so by the person who would be responsible! Let's think about this for a minute... If I have someone that works for me... would they be more likely to mention an "obscure or minor" item knowing that "it's no big deal and shoot, I'm not responsible anyway" or as ME the owner.. knowing that liability AND reputation are on the line? Easy one I think!
What type of Inspection Report will I receive?
While the best report will come from the best inspector, I've decided that the Checklist paper type are too antiquated and are nearly obsolete. They are easier for me, the Home Inspector to use, but are easily less informative than the computerized reports that I now use. It's the 21st century, request a computerized report with pictures for goodness sake! The inspector generally has the ability to store relevant information and common situations that are relevant to your local area and the paper type are generally not. I could be wrong on a small scale, but not by much!
Can I attend the Inspection?
The answer here is a very important one....your inspector should actually "encourage" you to be there. If they didn't I consider it a red flag, unless you indicated prior to asking this question that you couldn't be there! The reason I say it's a red flag is because of this, a shy or reserved type of person may be a great inspector, but is likely to find it difficult to be comfortable explaining items and "being under the gun". Does that make sense? It should! So this is actually a good time to tell if your inspector is a "Chatty Kathy" or "Mr. No personality". There is a really bad inspector in my area that people really like and he does well, simply because he is so friendly and well spoken. His or her clients should be reading these questions before calling him though:-)
How long will it take to get my Inspection Report? The answer should be either: Soon or Very soon!
Meaning this, inspectors that takes several days, especially during the workweek to deliver reports creates a lot of problems. This is because: Most inspectors I know have very good memories, but good enough to have 4-6 reports backed up and waiting to be written? No, of course not. Myself, I have most of my report done when I'm leaving the inspection, thanks to the advent of a portable tablet style laptop ( a necessity in my book) I could probably go "out to the truck" and send it out. I don't though. I insert my photos and proof read my work and send it out later that day or by the next morning or so. We all have ways that work for us, I just don't see how many inspectors can write accurate reports several days after leaving the job site.
Can I call you if I have any questions after the inspection or after I receive my report?
Most inspectors are going to say YES! Try to remember in this "interview" with your potential home inspector whether you got a feel that this person is a sociable one or just in a hurry to get off the phone. As mentioned, if he or she is in the field and offers to call back, don't hold it against them. See if they do and think of it as an opportunity to see if they do as they say! After all it's easier to answer a phone that to make time to call people back. The last question should be "How Much". Not to say that this isn't important to you, it just should carry a smaller "weight" if you will. I think that people put way too much emphasis on the cost of a Home Inspection rather than looking at some facets that I have made available for you here!
I will be writing another article on a topic " I'm buying a Home As-Is, should I get it Inspected?" Yes you should, I'll write more about it soon.