7 Points to Finding the Best Home Inspector for YOU!
1.) Education & Training
Pursuing a career as a certified home inspector is a choice that is an interesting, challenging and rewarding one. It allows an Inspector to be of service to others in helping them find a safe sanctuary for their family, as well as, a sound investment for their future.
In Maryland it is required to have a license to become a home Inspector, which is not so in all states. To achieve this all Inspectors must complete a 72-hour classroom training course approved by the Maryland Department of Labor and then pass the National Home Inspectors Exam (NHIE).
At 4U Inspection Services, our inspectors must also undergo our 250-hour apprenticeship program requiring a minimum of 50 inspections (about 3 months) of in-field training with our Inspector Manager and/or Lead Inspector.
2.) Get A Home Inspection from a Certified Professional Inspector (CPI)
It takes a full-time Inspector at least 100 inspections before he begins to develop the eyes, ears, and nose for hunting down problems, so be sure to ask how many inspections the inspector conducts annually.
A full-time home Inspector conducts about 300 inspections. Conducting 300 inspections each year requires extensive referrals by prior clients, lenders, real estate agents and others.
On the other hand, you do need to be mindful if an Inspector is doing three inspections a day or more. It could mean that he is not spending enough time needed to do a complete job. A complete inspection will usually take around 3 to 3.5 hours. Anything less and you might just be getting a ‘drive-by’ inspection.
The success of our business depends on exceeding your expectations for quality and professionalism. When you get an inspection from a professional company, like 4U Inspection Services, they have a vested interest in ensuring your total satisfaction!
Note: Being a contractor is very different from being a Certified Professional Inspector. Contractors, and those who work in one specific part of the home (heating/air conditioning, roofing, plumbing), do not have the expertise or experience to look for issues in the other parts of a home’s structure or mechanical components. Whereas, home Inspectors are responsible for evaluating all the systems and components of the home to be able to provide a competent evaluation of all these elements and give a whole-picture assessment of your new home.
Continuing education and training are a must!
Inspectors are required to maintain their knowledge and keep up to date with new guidelines, policies, and procedures in every aspect of a home (roofing, mechanical, structural, grading, etc.). Every year they must obtain 16 Continuing Education Units (CEU) to maintain their license in Maryland.
There are two primary professional organizations for home Inspectors who offer courses for Inspectors to get their CEUs: the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (Internachi). They each have a list of qualified home Inspectors on their websites that they ensure are current in their education through their organization. Note: they not listed per company, rather by each Inspector individually. You can meet our 4U Inspection Service’s Inspectors on our website. You can also check out the local professional organization, Maryland Association of Home Inspectors, who also provides educational courses to keep their Inspectors up to date.
While certifications are certainly important, it is the combination of all 3 factors: experience, education, and training that make the difference in the competency of your home inspector.
4.) Advanced Technology
Technology is changing our day-to-day lives in every way, it’s the same in the home inspection profession. Todays home Inspectors have a variety of equipment and software at their disposal to step up their game and allow the home buyer to put aside their pre-purchase qualms.
Now, it is standard to have online reports sent to you on the same day of your inspection! Many reports are done on tablets or cellphones which enables the legwork to become faster and more efficient, and reporting is now more complete, modern, and standardized, all thanks to technology.
A home inspection is a visual inspection, it is only what the Inspector can see that he can report on. The Inspector that can provide thermal imaging to their clients offers an advantage for their customers. Thermal imaging is technology that allows the Inspector to find issues behind the walls that aren’t visual to our eyes, such as a leaky pipe, blocked duct, or a rodent problem.
Small drones with cameras are the wave of the future for home inspections. Many times, due to weather or safety concerns, an Inspector cannot get on the roof to traverse it. This is when drones will become a great assistant! They can survey a roof surface quickly and without risk to either the roof or the Inspector, plus a recorded visual report can be an added advantage!
During the Corona-19 shut down 4U Inspection Services was able to pivot quickly and begin to provide virtual inspections almost immediately. At first this form of inspection was not really considered a remote possibility, but as we now have done nearly 100 of them (!) We have become proficient in doing them and can see how beneficial they are for the safety of all concerned. It is especially beneficial for those who cannot attend the home inspection or are overseas or out of state. Another state-of-the-art technological method that offers another method in the way home inspections can be done in the future.
At present, there is no indication that homes of the future will be inspected by a robot, or that home inspection technology is waiting in the wings that might assess a home’s condition from a cellphone or satellite. Besides, there will always be an emotional element involved. In last 30 years the profession of home inspection has changed a lot, but at its heart it is still a personalized service performed by a caring professional.
5.) The Inspection Report
Above and beyond the ability to get an inspection report quickly with today’s modern technology, is what should you expect to see in it. So, what does make up a great home inspection report? Here are just some of the major points to check for:
It should be well organized and logically presented
Readily understandable by anyone
Provide enough detail, description, and direction clearly to portray a good representation of the property
Contain photographs that clearly shows the areas of concern
Begin with a Summary Section where the significant issues are clearly identified.
30 – 70 pages in length depending on the size of the home
Have symbols to help you decipher what is important and up for negotiation with the Seller and what is regular maintenance concerns
One thing that is never allowed in an inspection report is repair cost estimates. All national home inspection associations forbid this lack of integrity and objectivity.
Avoid an Inspector that makes repairs due to the conflict of interest inherent in that situation.
Know that the report is YOUR property, so the Seller does not get a copy of the report unless you give it to them. It is prudent to only provide the repair request list to the Seller when you negotiate with them.
Ask for a sample of an inspection report when shopping for an inspection company, so you’ll know what you can expect for your time and money.
6.) Do Not Hire the Cheapest Company
Many new Inspectors with fewer years of experience, and not a lot of business, often charge very low prices, so, ‘You get what you pay for’ is an adage to remember when shopping for a home Inspector.
Hiring a company with experience that understands that they work for you is critical, especially when it will most likely will be the largest purchase of your life, or if you are wanting to get your home ready to sell and avoid a surprise with large, expensive repairs after the home buyer’s inspection report.
It’s understandable to begin to want to cut corners when you see dollar signs at each step of the home buying/selling process. You try to save every penny possible! As one of the last key components of the home sale, home inspections are not where you should look for a discount. Think of it this way, a less expensive home inspection can potentially lead to thousands more in missed repairs that could have been negotiated in the purchasing process or, if you are the Seller, could have been handled long before the Buyer’s inspection report was done!
Researching the home inspection companies that your real estate agent recommends by checking their reviews, testimonials, and making sure they have E&O insurance (Errors and Omissions) to protect from any mishaps is vital when making your final decision.
7.) Check Reviews and Ask for Referrals from Your Friends, Family, and REALTOR
It used to be that you would ask businesses for referrals to check up on the services they provided. Now, with privacy being of major concern, it is not prudent to share other’s personal contact information with strangers.
Asking your friends, family, and, most especially, those in the real estate industry such as a REALTOR, title company, or mortgage banker is one of the most reliable ways to find an Inspector with a credible history, experience, knowledge, and service record.
Of course, you can find all sorts of information online via Google reviews, Yelp, Angie’s List, Porch, Patch, HomeAdvisor, and many other sites and neighborhood newsletters to learn of other’s experience with the Inspector that you want to find out more about.
Let 4U Inspection Services be your advocate!
WE ARE COMMITTED TO PROVIDING YOU WITH OUTSTANDING SERVICE.
WE’RE HIGHLY EXPERIENCED AND EXTREMELY THOROUGH YET HAVE EXCELLENT COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS TO BE ABLE TO PUT THE ENTIRE HOME INTO PROPER PERSPECTIVE FOR YOU.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO BUY IN MARYLAND,
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