How do I find a good inspector? Start with a web search through a nationally recognized home inspector association. ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, is the oldest and most respected. Go to www.ashi.org, where you can find a local inspector, check out their experience and background and get a link to their website. Be aware that the advertised business experience of a large franchise may be quite different than that of the individual franchise owner. Whatever you do, don’t use the cheapest fee as your sole criteria.
Must inspectors be licensed? Yes. To find out if the inspector is properly licensed, go to www.dol.wa.gov/business/homeinspectors.
How long should an inspection take? Inspection time will vary according to the size, age and complexity of the structure and whether or not it is occupied. As a general rule, a thorough and professional inspection of an average sized, occupied home should take 2 to 3 hours. Anything significantly less will likely be neither thorough nor professional.
Should I attend the inspection? Even if you cannot attend throughout the entire process, at least be present at the end so the inspector can review their findings with you. If the inspector would prefer you not attend it is time to interview someone else.
What should I do during the inspection? Before the inspection begins, be sure to share any questions or concerns you may have with the inspector. Following that, the inspector will be following a strict protocol during the inspection process. Keeping on their heels and asking numerous questions may affect their focus. I prefer to carry on alone while my clients do their own personal inspection ‐ taking a closer look at things, measuring rooms and possibly discovering things they didn’t see before. I then gather up with them every so often to walk through, review findings and answer questions.
Is it alright to bring my friends and family? Sure, but be careful how many people you invite to the inspection. It may seem a great time to show off the house to family and friends, get bids from contractors, have the septic pumped and so on, but too many people can impede the inspector’s ability to do their job and divert their attention from the inspection process.
What if I don’t have a Realtor? The process may not be any different, but it certainly can be much more difficult. A professional Realtor will be skilled in helping you negotiate important inspection issues ‐ something the inspector cannot help you with. Many a home buyer has wasted time, effort and money because they lacked professional representation. My best advice if you don’t have a Realtor – reconsider!
Larry owns and operates Cameo Home Inspection Services and is an instructor for the ASHI Washington Home Inspection School. He can be reached at 360‐459‐1632