Angie’s List: Finding the right home inspector
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Spring used reign supreme as the best time to buy or sell a home. But winter sales have been heating up lately and have nearly caught up to the better weather season as a great time to buy and sell, too. Consumers often turn to real estate agents for help with these kinds of transactions, but there’s another pro they need to get to know.
“Buying a house, especially your first one, can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. That’s why you need a home inspector to help you through the process,” says Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “But be sure you’re hiring one with the right credentials.”
Hicks cautions against relying solely on your realtor’s recommended choice of inspector. Your inspector should be bonded, insured and accredited by a professional association and have positive consumer reviews about his or her performance record.
Home inspectors check the condition of the home’s foundation, roof, attic, basement, heating and air conditioning system, plumbing, electrical and major appliances. You should get a thorough report that highlights areas of concern. Use it to decide on whether to pass on the house or to negotiate from a position of strength on price or repairs to be done before you agree to buy.
“Texas is one of only a few states that require licensing,” Hicks said. “If you’re buying or selling a home in a different state, you want to do your homework to see their affiliation with different trade associations and also what kind of guarantee they have behind their work.”
Rich Able, owner of Indy Inspection Services, says home shoppers shouldn’t be afraid to tag along on the inspection.
“I recommend that they attend the inspection. I think it’s best that they follow me around. I don’t allow them up on the roof and they usually don’t go into crawl spaces, although sometimes they do,” he said.
Extreme weather – hot or cold – isn’t usually a problem for your inspector.
“If there’s snow, that’s something else. Snow or frost on a roof is too dangerous to walk on a roof in that condition,” Able said.
If weather does interfere, the inspector will come back, usually for a nominal fee, to finish the job. Many older homes have lead, asbestos or other common household dangers and your inspector should point them out. Even newly built homes need an inspection because they may not be built well, Hicks says.
For an extra charge, you can have your inspector check water quality, radon and pest damage. Hicks says the inspection can be the difference between dream home or money pit, so take the time to hire right and learn as much as you can from your inspector.
Discover more Angie’s List tips for how to find a reliable home inspector and what that work entails on the company’s Solution Center. To determine the trade license status of a building pro, use the Angie’s List License Check free-of-charge.
States and areas that do not require a home inspector to be licensed are:
- Washington, D.C.
- New Mexico
- South Dakota