As sure as the spring flows at The Fountain of Youth, home inspecting provides a stream of knowledge to wash away the fears of home buyers. But fear may be replaced by frustration if the wrong inspector is chosen! Some pointers on selecting your next home inspector will go a long way toward making the process a happy one.
Be sure to ask how long the inspector has been in the inspection business. Longevity gives comfort that the company will be with you in the future as new needs and issues arise.
How many inspections has the inspector personally performed? This is important! An inspector may have been in business for 5 years but inspected less than a dozen homes. Your home buying decision is far too important to be a practice place for a part-time inspector.
Confirm that your inspector has experience in homes similar to the home you are having inspected. All homes have some systems and features in common, but new home in Eagle Harbor or Nocatee has risks and issues that differ from an historic beauty in Jacksonville or St. Augustine. Only someone who has walked the walk and crawled the crawl numerous times in similar homes can sleuth out those important items.
Does the inspector hold an active and current Florida home inspectors license? In Florida, the business of home inspection is regulated. This makes it especially important to verify professional credentials and experiences before making a selection. Florida also mandates a minimum level of general liability insurance for home inspectors, but I’ve seen inspectors show their proof of insurance to the state authorities only to cancel it the next day! Make sure your inspector has current general liability insurance.
Ask when the report will be delivered. Often the buying decision is time critical, you want to be sure you will receive your completed report in time to read, review, and respond. The best companies can deliver the report to no later than the day after the inspection is completed.
Does the completed report include photographs, including infrared images? Often, the report will contain descriptions of damage or defect in locations of the home that only the inspector was able to access, like roof-tops or crawl spaces. You will want pictures of these areas to make the location of the damage clear. It also makes the repair process simpler when a photograph is available, since there is no confusion for the tradesperson making the repair. But what of the scope of repair in those damaged areas? Peace of mind does not come from a regular inspector raising questions, and then leaving them unanswered. Peace of mind comes from knowing precisely what the visual symptoms REALLY mean. That level of confidence can only be reached with the use of an infrared camera in the hands of a Certified Master Inspector or Certified Inspection Expert. Infrared allows an properly trained home inspector to essentially “see the invisible”, which brings a level of understanding and comfort to the inspection that cannot be reached with any other tool.
Lastly, be sure to attend the home inspection, watch the process, and ask lots of questions – the history of your home will unfold before your very eyes! The entire Northeast Florida and Jacksonville area, as well as the rest of our beautiful area, is rich in homes and heritage, and the right home inspector can help you to know the past and enjoy the future in your new home!