Profile picture for roadant

Home Inspector credentials - what should I look for?

I'm a first time home buyer who recently walked away from a transaction after the initial home inspection. I withdrew not because of what was found but because of another issue. I'm now looking to make an offer on another home but will be doing so with another realtor. My reason for switching is that I no longer feel I can trust either the realtor or the home inspector she recommended. I say this because during the home inspection the inspector (who is a friend of the realtor) was doing his best to "show" me the house. I almost felt like he was the seller's agent. The report I got back was unimpressive and seemed to be more boilerplate/generic than anything else. As a consequence I no longer trust him or the agent. My question is, what qualifications should I require of my next home inspector? Should I insist they be a structural or geotechnical engineer? What is the wisest way to go?
  • August 15 2011 - Irvine
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Answers (4)

Profile picture for BobPhillipsRE
Hi Roadant, 

I think Erica's answer, below, is pretty accurate.  We Realtors tend to use people WE trust, just like you want to.  The trick is, why do we trust them? ( Actually ANY service provider that we might recommend - escrow company, title company, termite company, pool inspector, and so on.)

If that trust is based on selecting the person who creates the fewest "waves" for a transaction, then he or she is an agent to run from. 

As a buyer's representative, I WANT to know if there are problems.  I have recommended that buyers withdraw from a purchase if the inspection comes up with many more costs than we anticipated - and the seller won't pay, or at least negotiate, to fix them.

With regard to Shasta Steve's comment that it could cost up to $2000 to conduct ALL the potential inspections available, that's probably true.  Most properties don't need them all - just the additional inspections that the original inspector "red flags", in HIS inspection, if any.

The typical generic inspection costs between $300 & $450, depending on the size of the house, and will usually involve 2 or 3 hours of the person's time - just at the property.  They then go back to their office and put it into a printable, and/or email-able form, and distribute it to everyone.

I trust an inspector who DOES look for problem areas, and the inspector that I have used for the past 20 years, has always done that.  I don't always LIKE the results, but I do appreciate their work, and would recommend them to anyone in my area - South O.C..

Good luck in finding an agent who is trustworthy, and who recommends service providers as trustworthy as he or she is.  And good luck in finding a terrific new home!
  • August 16 2011
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Profile picture for shasta_steve
I once bought a house and took my realtor's advice on finding a home inspector.   I told my realtor that I wanted to be at the inspection.  I could tell my realtor was not too happy with that but finally got him to give a time to show up.  Well I showed up early and was walking around the side of the house just in time to hear my realtor tell the inspector if he did not find too much he would use him later on other houses.  Things got really ugly about that point.   Needless to say the broker had to send me another realtor.  

I think inspections are good for most people but I know one of the things I did not like about my last one was the way it was written.  The inspector actually did a very good job but it was written in such a way that there was absolutely no way I could come back on him if he did miss something.  It wold go like this.   Roof appears to be in good shape but recomend a roofing contractor look at it.  No sign of pests but recomend a pest inspection.  If I would of had experts look at everything he pointed out I would of had well over 2k just in the inspection.  To be honest I could do just as good of a job myself but it was nice to have someone agree with me that that house was in good shape other than just needing a good cleaning.  
  • August 16 2011
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Congrats on your decision to buy your first home! Trust is a big issue for a home buyer when picking a home inspector that has a good general knowledge. Any one can call themselves a home inspector, shocking but true! I would suggest that you check out http://www.creia.org for a list of inspectors as this organization was established in 1976 and is known to be ethical within the real estate industry. Depending on what you initial inspector finds carrying out further evaluations may be needed such as a Chimney inspector, Drains inspector, and if it is a hillside property the Geotechnical may be needed. These will increase your closing cost but the money spent could save you tens of thousands of dollars so the initial outlay will give you knowledge of the property you are buying and piece of mind. One further inspection I suggest is to have an energy Audit as this will give you the low down on the energy usage of your property and also give suggestions of what you can do to improve you carbon footprint. I trust your next escrow will be a more successful experience and I wish you the best of skill with the search. Chris
  • August 16 2011
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This is a hard general question to answer. Many ambiguous statements; "was doing his best to "show" me the house." I know my inspectors show my buyers the house post inspection to show and teach them all of the findings. Also "he report I got back was unimpressive"... what was in that report or what wasn't?

Typically we as agents recommend home inspectors we trust and have used time and time again. To me, a quality inspector is someone who is licensed, knows his stuff, and can tell my buyer "like it is". Please be advised.. a home inspection is general.. or "generic". A home inspector is not someone who is also a structural or geotechnical engineer.. they may be capable all of the above, but to avoid conflict of interests, these are all separate inspections. If your original inspector noted something to be concerned w/the structure- he is not going to proceed w/inspecting it- he will point you in the direction of getting that 2nd specialized opinion. Again, I don't know all of the story w/your last situation, but with your next agent please consult w/them about the inspection, inspector, what is to be inspected, etc. Good luck!
  • August 15 2011
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