(Family Features) - When buying or selling a home, a professional home inspector should always be part of the transaction. Home inspectors provide unbiased third-party opinions about the structure, exterior, roof, plumbing, electrical system, HVAC system - pointing out problem areas and any needed repairs.
Here are eight questions you need to ask in order to make sure your home inspector will get the job done right.
- What does the inspection cover?
In addition to finding out exactly what the inspector will be examining, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) recommends that you find out whether the inspection and the inspection report will meet all state requirements, and comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You can find the ASHI standards at their web site, ashi.org, and the standards of the National Society of Home Inspectors at nshi.us.
- How long have you been practicing and how many inspections have you completed?
- Do you focus on residential inspection?
Home inspection is very different from inspecting commercial buildings or construction sites. If you are buying or selling a historic home, ask if they have experience in that area, as well.
- Will you do repairs or improvements?
Some states and home owners associations forbid inspectors from providing repair work on problems discovered during inspection, citing it as a conflict of interest. Other states and associations allow it, however. Contact your local ASHI chapter to learn about rules in your state.
- How long with it take?
The average inspection time for a typical single-family dwelling is two to three hours. Anything significantly less that that may not be thorough enough. If it's a large property, find out if additional inspectors will be brought in.
- How much will it cost?
Costs vary, depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. The Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says that a typical range might be from $300 to $500. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.
- What type of report do you provide and how long will it take to receive it?
Ask to see samples so you can determine whether or not you can follow the inspector's reporting style. Most inspectors provide a full report within 24 hours of the inspection.
- Will I be able to attend the inspection?
The answer should always be yes. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, it's helpful for you to be able to see the home through the eyes of an expert. If the inspector refuses to let you attend, consider it a red flag warning.