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Hiring a Certified Home Inspector

When buying a home, it is important that you hire a certified home inspector to look it over and report on its condition. By doing this, you could save yourself thousands of dollars in later repair costs. If the home is an older home, an inspection is a particular must. Even when purchasing a newer home, it is better to be on the safe side and have a certified home inspector check out the property.

A home inspector is a professional who will come to the house and scrutinize it from top to bottom. The structure of the house and its foundation will be analyzed. The roof will be checked for leaks and the walls will be checked for any termite damage. Pipes will be checked for damage and/or rust. Electrical wires and fuse boxes will be checked for safety violations. The list goes on and on.

Be sure to obtain a physical copy of the inspection report, even if it is delivered as a computer file. Ask that the inspector include photos in the report, as these will protect you should any liability issues surface. Also, pictures provide a handy reference of any before-and-after repair work performed by the seller of the house.

Do not ever consider hiring an uncertified home inspector. While uncertified inspectors are cheaper, they have not undergone the rigorous testing and scrutiny of a certifying institute; thus, they may not know all the new building code laws. In comparison, certified home inspectors are required to undergo annual reviews by the certifying institute, ensuring that they know all current developments in their field. Certified home inspectors also regularly submit their work to the certifying institute for scrutiny. This assures the prospective home buyer that the inspector is confident in his or her work. Finally, certified home inspectors carry something called Errors and Omissions Insurance. This insurance protects you against any mistakes the inspector may make during the inspection of your home.

There are several well-known and respected certifying institutes, such as The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). You can find a certified home inspector at either of these websites: http://www.ashi.org/ or http://www.nachi.org/. Make sure that your inspector has been certified by such an institute or its equivalent.

Once you have hired your home inspector and prior to the actual inspection, make a list of any questions you have regarding the status of the house. If there is something questionable that you have already noticed about the house, then be sure to point this out to the inspector. Follow him or her around the house as individual items are checked out. Although you will receive a written report, verbal comments made by the inspector are just as valuable when obtaining a complete picture of the house’s condition.

Depending on the square footage of the house and its geographical location, a certified home inspector will cost you anywhere from $200-$900 to hire; however, when one considers just how expensive home repairs can be, paying for a certified home inspector is money well invested.
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