As a buyer, getting a home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. It’s not something to take lightly or a step in which to cut corners. It’s important to have a professional examine the home as this is most likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make.
Here are eight crucial questions you should be asking a potential home inspector:
1. Are you licensed?
Home inspectors in Washington state are required to be licensed with the Department of Licensing. Check dol.wa.gov for license and status of any individual. Home inspectors are required to meet state Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Also, inquire about experience and qualifications.
2. What will the inspection cover?
A home inspection must meet all applicable requirements of the state of Washington. A home inspection includes the major systems of the house, including roof, foundation, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc. You should ask ahead of time if any specific concerns you have will be addressed.
3. How long will the inspection take?
The time it takes for a home inspection depends on the size, age, and complexity of the house. A typical home inspection of a single-family home takes two to four hours. It takes time to perform a thorough inspection.
4. How much will it cost?
The cost of a home inspection is typically based on the size and age of a house. Some inspectors may charge by the hour for larger and/or unique homes. A more experienced and qualified inspector may charge more. Consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. The fee for a good home inspection will likely be your best value during the home-buying process.
5. How will the report be transmitted?
Many inspectors will provide a verbal summary of findings on-site, with a complete written report emailed to you. Ask how long it will take to receive the written report.
6. Will you be able to attend the inspection?
Because buying a home is probably the largest investment you will ever make, it is recommended that you attend the inspection. You will want to ask questions of the inspector and learn about the systems in the house. It is better to allow the inspector to perform his/her inspection without too much interruption but expect that there will be time to ask questions about any defects or concerns that the inspector discovers.
7. Do you participate in continuing education?
Continuing education is required for license renewal for all home inspectors. 24 approved hours are required every two years for license renewal. Some professional organizations that the home inspector may belong, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) require much more of their members.
8. Will additional inspections be required?
If the home inspection reveals defects or concerns, additional inspections by other professionals may be required. A home inspector performs a function similar to a general practitioner does for your health. For example, ponded water in the crawl space may call for an additional inspection by a licensed and qualified foundation drainage contractor to determine the source of moisture and cost to remedy. This will enable you to proceed with the information you need to make an informed decision.
For answers to other questions about home inspections, please use the Comment section below or contact one of our licensed ASHI home inspectors at ‘Find an Inspector’ on www.ashiww.org.