How To Choose A Home Inspector For Your South Jersey Home

Dated: 07/29/2015

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Don’t just hire the first home inspector you find on Google. Not every home inspector will properly inspect and then report a home’s defects. It matters that you choose a home inspector who is competent and trustworthy. A reputable home inspector can save buyers and sellers alike a lot of headache. So, where do you start when it’s time to choose a credible home inspector you can trust to properly inspect a home and then report what they find?

With some quality research, you’ll find a home inspector whom you can trust and work with confidently. Start here:

Ask your real estate agent or lender who they recommend

Do your own research. Look up a list of local inspectors on the American Society of Home Inspectors website,

Then, ask yourself the following questions (It’s okay to “interview” each home inspector with the following questions, too. In fact, it’s recommended!)

Is the home inspector a member of a professional inspection organization?

A reputable home inspector will be a member of one of these organizations: the National Association of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Many states have statewide associations, too. Home inspectors who are members of a statewide association are also an acceptable alternative. If your state regulates home inspectors, check with the state agency to verify the inspector's license and check his record for complaints. If your state does not regulate home inspectors, look for credentials such as certification by ASHI.

The organizations listed above have certification and licensing procedures. Their members are required to follow procedural and ethical standards when conducting home inspections.

Even though a home inspector is a member of one of the above organizations, it doesn’t guarantee he is an expert. Certainly, if a home inspector is not a member of one of the respected organizations mentioned above, you should remove him from your list of possibilities.

What is the home inspector’s background?

Can a home inspector be an expert in many different things? Yes and no. That's why it's important to check an inspector's background and references.

Look for a home inspector who has experience in the building industry. They are typically the best home inspectors. You want to work with a home inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of a home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements. Don’t expect a home inspector to tell you if every single plumbing, electrical and structural detail of the home being inspected is up to code. He won’t be able to tell you this. If you want this kind of specialized inspection completed, hire a licensed plumber, electrician or contractor.

If the home being inspected is an older home, a home inspector’s background is especially important. Home inspectors may need to look for problems that are common in an older home would have versus problems that are not common in a newer home. For older home or fixer-upper inspections, hire a home inspector who is well-versed in older homes or fixer-uppers.

How much experience does the home inspector have?

A rookie home inspector is okay to work with as long as he has a background in construction or home repair. Be sure to hire a home inspector who has been through extensive training. If an experienced home inspector will be assisting the rookie home inspector, you can feel confident about the results of the home inspection.

How long will it take the home inspector to inspect the home?

A home inspection should take at least two hours, but it can take up to four hours depending on the complexity of the job. If the home is large, an older home or a fixer-upper, it could take even longer. If a home inspector promises to conduct an inspection in less than two hours, don’t hire him. This is not enough time to thoroughly inspect a home.

How much will it cost to have a home inspector inspect the home?

Costs for a home inspection range from $300 to $800 on average. Again, depending on the complexity of the job, costs can go higher. The age of the home and its type of structure may call for more time and thus, more cost.

What will the home inspector inspect?

Remember, a home inspector’s job is to inspect things that can be seen, not things that cannot be seen. Their inspection won’t reveal any wiring problems hidden behind drywall or any mold problems under the shower tiles.

A home inspector should evaluate every possible visible place in your home, including the roof, basement and attic. Also, the home inspector should be in physical shape to access these places, even if a ladder or flashlight is necessary.

A home inspector should look at the water heater, furnace and electrical box. The home inspector may not be able to tell you if your home’s systems are up to local codes, but he should be competent enough to know whether or not the systems are safe or in need of major repairs.

Will you be permitted to tag along with the home inspector during the inspection?

A refusal to this simple request is a red flag. A home inspection is a fabulous opportunity to learn about the home and talk about any possible repairs that may be needed. A good home inspector will take you along on the inspection, if that’s what you would like to do. A great inspector will talk you through everything he sees.

Tag along, pay attention, watch, ask questions and learn about the home.

What kind of inspection report does the home inspector offer?

When the inspection is complete, you should receive a written report detailing all that the home inspector found. Most inspectors will provide a report within 24 hours of completion of the home inspection. It’s important that the inspector’s reporting style will meet your lender’s requirements and your own personal preferences. Ask to see samples of the home inspector’s previous home inspection reports.

The report should contain photographs, descriptions of any damage or defects and details on the location of damage and defects found during the inspection. Photographs are great for helping you understand the extent and location of the damage. Visual proof makes it easier to get repair estimates, too.

If you’d like to share the report with family and friends via email, ask for an electronic copy of the report as well.

Finally, make sure your home inspector is objective, independent and does not have any affiliation with the real estate agency selling the home. Choose a home inspector who carries errors and omissions insurance. And when you decide on a great home inspector, ask about his fees and schedule.

I hope this article shares the importance of how to find and choose a great home inspector for the home you are selling or looking to buy. For recommendations on a great home inspector, contact me, Sam Lepore of Long and Foster Real Estate, at (856) 297-6827 or

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Sam Lepore

Sam Lepore is a Realtor with Keller Williams in Moorestown, NJ. Call him today at 856.297.6827 ....

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