“Buying a house, especially your first one, can be an incredibly overwhelming experience." Angie Hicks, Founder of Angie's List explains, "that’s why you need a home inspector to help you through the process. But be sure you’re hiring one with the right credentials.”
Angie cautions against relying solely on your realtor's recommended choice of inspector. Your inspector should be bonded, insured and accredited by a professional association and have positive consumer reviews about his or her performance record.
Home inspectors check the condition of the home's foundation, roof, attic, basement, heating and air conditioning system, plumbing, electrical and major appliances. You should get a thorough report that highlights areas of concern. Use it to decide on whether to pass on the house or to negotiate from a position of strength on price or repairs to be done before you agree to buy.
Rich Able, owner of Indy Inspection Services says the potential home buyer, should be present at the inspection. "I recommend that they attend the inspection. I think it’s best that they follow me around. I don’t allow them up on the roof and they usually don’t go into crawl spaces, although sometimes they do.”
If weather does interfere with the home inspection, the inspector will come back, usually for a nominal fee, to finish the job. Many older homes have lead, asbestos or other common household dangers and your inspector should point them out. Even newly built homes need an inspection because they may not be built well.
For an extra charge, you can have your inspector check water quality, radon and pest damage. Angie says the inspection can be the difference between dream home or money pit, so take the time to hire right and learn as much as you can from your inspector.