According to Zillow, springtime is the right time to schedule home inspections. During this advantageous moment, you can survey winter damage and implement exterior and interior changes without the risk of heatstroke. However, to get real value out of these in-depth home surveys, you must follow a couple key guidelines.
Pick the right people
Not all home inspection companies are created equal. So, when looking into hiring a home inspector, make like most wise consumers and ask for references. Though most states regulate home inspection licenses, the standards they use are widely considered ineffective, reported This Old House. Ask neighbors and friends for recommendations and search trade databases to get a feel for the skill levels of the inspectors in your area. The American Society of Home Inspectors has one such database and offers resources for homeowners. You should also contact your local branch of the Better Business Bureau. Also, ask local real estate agents. They normally give rock-solid recommendations.
"Real estate agents want to be careful who they refer, " Cara Ameer, an associate broker at Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, said in an interview with U.S. New & World Report. "They want to protect themselves from liability as well, and want to make sure that the people they refer will be objective and do a thorough job."
Additionally, make sure the inspector you hire is licensed in your state. This is an especially important guideline for homebuyers looking to inspect a home they intend to purchase. Often, sellers will deny repair requests or price reductions based on information from a home inspector who's not licensed locally.
Lastly, employ a home inspection company that carries insurance to cover property damage sustained through inspector error. Some companies only hold themselves liable for the cost of inspection, which is a problem for homeowners make drastic changes based on faulty insights.
Once you've scheduled a home inspection, be prepared to spend the day evaluating your property with your inspector. This will give you an opportunity to learn about your home and see how things work, according to Zillow. Homeowners should know, for instance, how to maintain their water heater and ventilation system. Plus, many inspectors offer valuable advice that doesn't end up in the official report. And, as you go along, create a list of non-essential improvements.
Of course, it will also allow you too watch out for inspection-related red flags. If an inspector completes his or her survey without pointing out at least one or two areas for improvement, you've probably hired a dud. And, if your inspector insists on going it alone, reconsider. Most want homeowners to come along so their advice really sinks in.