What to Look for When Hiring a Home Inspector

When you are on the hunt for a new home, it is easy to fall in love with the layout, color scheme and ambiance of a house—but underlying structural factors are just as important to consider. Hiring a home inspector is an essential step in the home-buying process and can help provide you with a detailed overview of the overall condition of your new home. Here is an overview of what home inspectors look for during an inspection and the factors you should consider when hiring a professional to examine your potential new home.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an evaluation that occurs before a home is purchased. The inspector will assess your property and provide you with a detailed report of all their findings. You can then go to the seller (or builder) to fix any desired issues before you close on the home or, in some instances, use the findings to negotiate down a seller’s price.

The specific factors your inspector will examine during a home inspection may vary from state to state or based on the property itself. However, there are some essentials you can expect your home inspector to cover including major mechanical systems, structural integrity and other safety-related aspects of the house.

There are limits to what a home inspector routinely checks, though. Most inspectors typically will not look over chimneys, wells or septic systems. If you are concerned about a specific area of a home that is not routinely addressed, you can always ask your inspector to take a look—however, this may result in additional costs. Be sure to clarify what your inspection cost covers and whether added factors will raise the price of the service before signing an agreement.

While many inspectors are often able to address special inspection requests, certain areas may require the expertise of a specialist. For roof and chimney inspections, for example, you may need to find an inspector specifically trained to know what to look for.

At the end of an inspection, you will receive a written report detailing all the inspector’s findings, including photographs and descriptions of any damage found during the investigation. Pictures are essential because they can help you understand both the scope and location of the damage—this makes it much easier to have repairs done.

How Many Inspections Do You Need?

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (IACHI) recommends homeowners have two or three inspections done prior to purchasing a new-construction home. These include:

  • “Pre-pour” inspection: This occurs before the foundation is poured and ensures the site has been graded correctly. An inspector will also check the anchors and footings to see if they are adequately spaced and securely in place.
  • “Pre-drywall/sheetrock” inspection: After the frame is built and the roof is installed, structural elements—like beams, posts and studs—are evaluated. Additionally, wiring and plumbing are also assessed during this stage.
  • Final inspection: The final inspection occurs before move-in day. This confirms that the home is safe for occupancy and has been finished per local code and building standards. Your builder should remedy any issues found during the final inspection before you move in.

How to Find an Inspector You Can Trust

When hiring a home inspector, it is important to find a qualified expert able to accurately identify potential issues. Confirming certification through reputable organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) is a great way to vet candidates. Both organizations have electronic databases to help you find certified inspectors in your area. The databases will also provide details about their experience, certifications and the types of services they offer.

There are also several platforms for user reviews regarding home inspection companies, including the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List and Yelp. Typing the name of a company and such terms as “complaints” and “reviews” into a search engine like Google can also help you uncover reputable options.

Lastly, you might also ask your real estate agent for referrals. Agents work with many of the same inspectors regularly and can often recommend a provider who will be honest, objective and thorough. Your agent will also benefit from referring you to a qualified expert as this can help ensure you have a smooth, efficient closing process. 

Hiring a home inspector to evaluate your property is a vital step in the home-buying process and can help ensure you are purchasing a safe and hazard-free property. Are you ready to find your dream home? Explore Perry Homes’ move-in ready properties to discover your next home here in Texas.