The Home Inspection
Make the Deal
No matter how many times you've toured your new house, there will always be something that you're going to miss. Why kick yourself later when you can hire someone to make sure that everything's up to snuff?
You need to find a good home inspector. He's going to give you information that will either set your mind at ease, send you back to the negotiating table, or send you back to the hunt. In any event, it's critical information.
Here are some helpful tips on finding the best inspector:
- If you're using a buyer broker, ask her to recommend someone. Don't take the advice of a traditional broker. While their counsel would probably be OK, don't forget that she's representing the other guy, not you, in the transaction. For more information on buyer brokers, check out The Buyer Broker.
- Check out any prospective inspectors with the professional association of independent home inspectors, the ASHI (not to be confused with either SUSHI or SASHIMI, which are Japanese raw fish dishes). ASHI stands for the American Society of Home Inspectors, and members must abide by a certain code of conduct and have attained a certain level of training and experience. Make sure your guy is one of them.
- Ask if he carries errors and omissions insurance. If he were to miss something big, this "oops" policy will help make amends when you find it later on.
- Find out exactly what is covered in the inspection. You want to know the skinny on all of the property's major structural and mechanical systems, from top to bottom.
- Ask if you can come along on the inspection. If he says no, go with someone else. When you find someone who says yes, go with him and watch what he does.
- Ask for references. This is a must. Anyone who refuses to give references should be crossed off your list. You might hear, "But I respect the privacy of my clients. Surely you can understand that." Don't fall for it. Any professional will be happy to supply the names of happy customers.
Finally, check our home inspection checklist. You might use this when you're first interviewing the inspector, to get an idea of what he's going to check. Make sure you get a heads-up on all the listed items.
If the place passes muster, and you obtain your financing, you're ready to close on the house. That means you're actually going to buy this thing. And that means you've got to be ready for closing costs.