Steps Involved in Hiring the Right Home Inspector for Your Real Estate Purchase

If plans are in motion to buy a new property and it seems like the sale is going ahead, it will be necessary to have a home inspection report carried out on your behalf. A home inspection report involves inspecting both the interior and exterior aspects of a property, in addition to the main amenities, such as the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical components.

Qualities of a home inspector can vary from a very poor to outstanding. If searching for the right contractor, you should look at several variables and not just primary basing your decision on cost alone. The cheapest quote is often not the best option. A certified and experienced home inspector is essential. It is important to avoid the non-certified inspector, as they aren’t likely to have the training and experience that you would demand. It is just the certified inspectors that have received the right level of training that is necessary to offer an in-depth inspection of property.

Here are several key points to consider in hiring the right home inspector:

Obtain referrals: one of the easiest ways to hire a certified home inspector is to get personal referrals, which might come from a recommendation provided by an estate agent or friends or family members. In obtained the referrals, it often helps if you are able to get two or three, which will make it easier to compare services, experience, costs, etc. From there you can choose the inspector that seems the most compatible. If unable to get personal referrals, then you can always go online and search the local companies which seem to have a good number of positive remarks or testimonials next to their name.

Remain local: it often helps the process of completing the home inspection report if you are able to hire the services of a local inspector who is more familiar with the type of construction and houses in the area. In most cases, construction laws and codes vary significantly from one region to the next, so using a local based company is essential.

Specimen report: in the process of interviewing a potential inspector, it often benefits if you are able to see a real or specimen home inspection report that has been completed to give an idea of what you will actual receive. In the report look for quality of the information provided, decide if the layout is easy to read and understand, try to establish the number of digital photos which might be taken, and look for an overall professional presentation. If a specimen report doesn’t come across as overly professional, it might be best to reject the services of that particular company.

Manhattan, New York Home Inspector – What to Look For

Because buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make, it is important that everything gets done properly. This means that you would want everything to go according to schedule and plan, and you would hope that there would be no big surprises. Remember, that while there are guarantees for most of the purchases that you make, there is no money back guarantee or return policy on a new home. That having been said, it’s in your best interest to make sure that the property that’s caught your eye on Long Island has no large problems that might be hiding from the untrained eye.

This makes it crucial to have a proper home inspection. One of the best ways to understand what is wrong and right with your new house is to hire a home inspector. The best home inspectors are well trained professionals who know how all the components in your house fit together, and they will be able to determine which of these components is not working properly and will affect the others.

For the average size home in a place like Manhattan, a thorough home inspection will take about two hours. During this inspection roofing will be looked at as well as chimneys gutters and downspouts. All these will be examined as well as any interior components. It is important to keep in mind that the home inspector will not be able to see behind walls or under the floor. There are some areas that cannot be inspected without damaging the property and that would cause a tangle of legal issues.

Reputable Manhattan inspectors generally belong to an organization and the consumer can generally check online or in the yellow pages for the one nearest to them. The best home inspectors have the most experience and have inspected the most homes. These are the ones that the savvy consumer should be looking for. Many of these professionals have had experience in other fields such as engineering, construction, and other related trades and industries.

A home inspector should be able to provide proof of being licensed and certified. Although some inspectors will offer to do repairs, it is recommended to consumers that they get at least three outside quotes before getting any work done. As well, it is not recommended that any home inspection be done at night.

One final note. A predelivery inspection may be required to purchase a new home. Here, the buyer and the builder go through this process. Often it’s a good idea to ask about the inspector coming along as well.

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Understanding Your Home Inspection Report

After pouring through real estate news, studying up on loans and neighborhoods, attending myriads of open houses and even digging into house hunting online – most home buyers feel like they are true real estate experts. However, for all but the most handy of house hunters, getting into really looking at the house shows just how little most people actually know about the nuts and bolts of what is probably the largest purchase they’ll ever make.

So YOU make the right decision and schedule a home inspection. You even attend the inspection and ask what you think are all the right questions – then get the report and find it reads with a whole different language then what you were speaking at the time of inspection. Terms like “serviceable condition…”, “monitor…”, “conducive to decay…”, “satisfactory to…” What do these along with the other comments and ratings ACTUALLY mean to you the home buyer?

Here’s a few pointers to help you translate the report into something you can really use.

1. The best home inspectors are even keeled, objective and “Just the Facts” is their byline. They’re not alarmists and they don’t try to play down the importance of things. Sometimes that straightforwardness can make it confusing and difficult for you, the buyer, to know what’s a really big deal and what’s not – whether you should move forward with the purchase, what to plan ahead for; whether to re-negotiate or walk way.

As a home inspector I’ve categorized things as a safety hazard that a couple hours and less than $100 would fix. For example a bathroom faucet with the hot and cold supply lines reversed. On the other hand you might see a simple line like “extensive earth to wood contact observed” that after further inspection opens a pretty pricey can of worms.

A home inspector shouldn’t provide you with a repair bid and in most cases won’t go into what the repairs (if any are needed) would entail, their job is to inspect and report. That being said, 9 times out of 10 they probably will verbally give you the information you might need to help you understand whether the situation is a serious problem or what you may be looking at down the road.

2. Many times I am asked by the home buyer accompanying me on an inspection, “Who should I get to fix that?” Personally I don’t recommend anyone because it’s an uncomfortable conflict of interest for me but instead I suggest they ask their local real estate agents because they know the area, who’s reputable and who isn’t. The other answer may be as simple as “You don’t need to hire anyone, go down to the hardware store and pick up a _____, here’s where it goes. I’m not sure how much it will cost but it probably won’t be much.” Either way, go ahead and ask your inspector – you’ll probably find out that most of the items in the home inspection report will probably be DIY items or maintenance issues. Even if you’re uncomfortable at first with handling DIY items, a couple of You Tube videos and some advice from the clerk at the hardware store should help you get into the projects. Either way you’ll know more about the issue at hand and whether you should hire someone to do the small fixes.

3. The second most popular question is “What would you do if this was your house? What would you fix and when?” The home inspector’s job is to point out everything, within the scope of the inspection that might need repair, replacement, maintenance, further inspection – or what might be on its last leg. They also are experienced enough with homes to know that no home is perfect. For example, if you ask “What would you (the home inspector) do with an item described as “at the end of its serviceable lifetime?” The might say “If it were mine, I wouldn’t do a thing to it. Just know that it could break in the next 5 months, or in the next 5 years. Keep your home warranty in effect, because that should cover it when it does break.”

“What would you do if this was your house? What would you fix and when?” is a good question because it puts you in the position to:

  • Understand better what does and doesn’t need to be repaired immediately
  • Better prioritize the work you plan to do to the home (budget or renegotiate accordingly)
  • Understand and get used to constant maintenance that comes along with home ownership
  • Understand the importance of a good home warranty plan.

4. A common scenario is to get home, open up the inspection report and have no clue whatsoever what he or she was referring to when they pointed out the wax ring that needs replacement or the TPR valve that is improperly installed. Your best bet for better understanding the home inspection report is to ask the inspector ( at the end of the inspection) to walk through the house with you to point out all the items they’ve noted needing repair, maintenance or further inspection. This way when you get the report you’ll have a better understanding of what and where the various items in the report belong. (Make sure your inspector includes as many pictures as necessary in their report.)

The bottom line is; if at all possible, arrange to attend your home inspection. This will be well worth it when you receive your report and you’re able to recognize each item and understand what the comments actually are referring to. At the end of the day, the home inspection report is just that – an objective report on the operations of the basic systems found in a house. It’s going to be up to you to follow up and ask the right questions that will help in making the right decisions for you when it comes time to purchase the home.