BOULDER – It may seem counter intuitive for a home inspector to give advice on how to choose an inspector. To be honest we would like you to choose our business for your inspection needs. However, we would also like you to be well informed prior to making your choice. There are several factors that should be taken into consideration when hiring an inspector.
Home inspectors must have a full working knowledge of every system in a home. A broad background in general construction is a good base to build from. Good inspectors usually have a combination of formal training combined with on the job experience in related fields. Ask potential inspectors what their background is.
Length of time in the business can also be a good indicator of an inspector’s quality of work. If someone has done hundreds of inspections over a long period of time they are most likely doing a good job. Companies with bad reputations do not stay around very long. That said, someone new to the business may still be well qualified and give you a detailed and accurate report.
Referrals are a good way to choose an inspector. Many real estate professionals will refer quality home inspectors that have years of experience. Most will refer more than one inspector and let the buyers make their own choice. This way there is no conflict of interest. Referrals from friends or relatives who may have used a quality inspector in the past are also good. These same people may also have suggestions on what companies to avoid. If you know someone who does a lot of real estate transactions, they may have some good suggestions.
Ask how long the inspection will take. The time it takes to perform a thorough inspection varies with the size and age of a home. However, if the inspector says it will take less than two hours find another inspector.
The cost of an inspection is also a factor. A well-established, full-time professional inspector is going to be at the high end of the spectrum. Several hundred dollars is a small price to pay to get the best protection you can for perhaps the biggest purchase of your life.
You should also ask when you will receive your report. Most inspectors will have a computer generated report with photos e-mailed to you the same day or by the next business day. If you are told it will take several days to receive you report, the inspector may be too busy to give your property the necessary attention. Printed copies of your report can be delivered by mail or through your Realtor.