How to Get the Most Out of Working With a Home Inspector

You’ve found that house that just might be your dream home, but you want to be sure it isn’t a well-camouflaged money pit. That’s why you hire an inspector, right?

But a lot of home buyers, especially if it’s their first time buying a home, don’t know how to get the most value from the process of working with a home inspector. Here are some best practices for making sure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself from future surprises.

Be there

No matter how dedicated your realtor is, and we know some really dedicated realtors, they aren’t you. If you aren’t there you can’t ask questions, if you aren’t there the inspector can’t ask you questions either. So don’t ask your realtor to oversee the inspection for you. Most realtors will do a great job, the best job anyone who isn’t YOU can do, but hearing it first hand and getting to ask follow up questions means that what you learn from having a conversation with a qualified inspector is worth far more than even the most detailed report or what your realtor will repeat to you.

Know your inspector

Do make sure you’re working with a qualified inspector. Ask about their background and experience, even request references. Also check your state’s regulations to see if the inspector is required to have a formal education and be licensed and/or bonded – in some states you’ll need to do that due diligence yourself.

Make sure you’ve already done your own inspection

It’s easy to get emotionally attached to wanting your dream home to be perfect in every way, but that can keep you from seeing problems that lie ahead. So walk through the property with open eyes and an open mind. Bring a friend along who isn’t in love with the house, but who has your best interests at heart – that second set of eyes may notice things you missed.

Going into the inspection appointment with your own checklist of questions from things that you’ve observed, working with a qualified inspector who is willing to discuss their report directly with you, and being present and attentive during the inspection process allows you the best shot at identifying and assessing potential problems and costs before you commit to the purchase.

Discovering defects doesn’t need to mean giving up your dream home, but knowing them before you commit can keep that dream from becoming a nightmare. Usually what it means is that you can get a fair idea of what kind of upgrades and repairs you’ll need to make and what kinds of costs you’re likely to incur. They say that knowledge is power, and certainly knowing what to expect when you buy a home gives you the power to make the right decision.