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5 questions to ask before hiring a home inspector

By Kathleen Kuhn | August 15, 2019

Fifty years ago, only one in 50 homes were inspected before a sale. We have since seen a seismic shift in pre-sale inspections, with most buyers expecting one before completing a transaction. This is, of course, for good reason — inspections provide peace of mind, help in negotiations and identify items that might need improvements.

Home Inspection
Be sure to find out exactly what is checked in your home inspection

But how do you find the right home inspector, one who is not only qualified but will also answer all your questions? You may have a roster of people you’ve worked with in the past, or your client will get recommendations from friends and family. Either way, there are key questions to ask to ensure they will meet your client’s expectations and yours.

  1. Are you licensed? Home inspectors should always meet all local licensing or registration requirements. You should be familiar with what those requirements are and ensure that any home inspector your customer selects is properly credentialled. In addition, ask the inspector if they have access to ongoing education and re-certification,  Organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI®), and International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI™), and the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI®), provide home inspectors access to continuing education. NIBI requires each inspector pass a re-certification test annually. If a home inspector cannot provide details on their credentials, it might not make sense to have them on your list. 

  2. How long have you been in home inspections? Home inspectors who have more experience, like any profession, know what to look for and what could go wrong in a home. But don’t let experience be the only deciding factor when choosing a home inspector, as many home inspection franchise organizations thoroughly train their new owners to operate at a professional standard. For example, our franchise, HouseMaster, which has operated for more than 40 years, has a blend of franchise owners from all walks of life. What links all of them together is the collective experience of our organization. That is something to carefully evaluate when deciding on an inspector – where were they trained and who trained them.

  3. Do you run a full-time home inspection business? Professionals who work for a full-time home inspection company are likely to be more thorough, offer one stop shopping for multiple inspection services and be more convenient to work with when scheduling the inspection. There can be good part-time inspectors, but unless that inspector is working for a full-time home inspection business, they may simply be less experienced and current as an inspector backed by a full-time company.
  4. What other important ancillary services does the inspector offer? This is not a requirement, as you are hiring a home inspector to complete a trusted, thorough inspection on a property. As mentioned, additional services such as termite inspections, water quality testing and radon screening can also be helpful to potential homebuyers. Not only that, knowing the full scope of what a home inspector offers can also help you be a resource for clients and build those long-term relationships essential for sustaining a real estate business.

  5.  (Ask yourself) How is your rapport with the inspector? Take a moment to ask yourself: how do you get along with the inspector? This is an important person in a crucial moment of the home buying cycle. Could you ask direct questions? Did the inspector explain things thoroughly and objectively? This is a very important indicator that you’ll get the most out of your inspection.

Overall, home inspections are a crucial part of the home buying or selling experience. Your client should always take the time to find the best home inspector for them, who they can work with to ensure they get the information they need to feel confident in the home sale.

About the author:

Kathleen Kuhn is President and CEO of HouseMaster, the original home inspection franchise. She oversees an organization with more than 320 franchise locations across the U.S. and Canada. HouseMaster® has an average net promoter score (NPS) of 92, a near-perfect customer service mark that puts it ahead of the NPS of some of the most customer-centric organizations like Ritz-Carlton and Apple.

Kathleen Kuhn is President of HouseMaster, the original home inspection franchise. She oversees an organization with more than 315 franchise locations across the U.S. and Canada.
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