What Should I Ask Before Hiring a Home Inspector?
So you’ve just gone under contract on your new home and your realtor correctly advised you to find a home inspector. You give google a search for “home inspection san antonio” and you get about a dozen pages of results. You’re overwhelmed! “What is the difference between these home inspectors?”
We’ve compiled a short list of questions that you should ask your prospective home inspectors and the answers that you’re looking for.
“Are You Licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission and What is Your License Number?”
The absolute first question you should ask every single inspector you talk to. If they’re not licensed, they’re not qualified, or even worse, they may have had disciplinary action on their license. This means that are not only not licensed, but that they were licensed and lost their licensing because they either weren’t doing their job effectively or ethically!
Once you have your inspector’s license number, you can plug it in at the TREC website to verify that they are currently licensed, as well as insured.
For those home-buyers outside of Texas, 40 out of 50 states in the US have licensing requirements for home inspectors, so be sure to find out who the regulating authority is so that you can perform a similar check. If you live in one of the few states without regulation (such as California), then at least verify that your home inspector is a member of one of the big-two Home Inspector Trade Orangizations, ASHI or InterNACHI.
“Do You Have Insurance?”
In Texas, all home inspectors are required to carry a minimum of $100,000 in Errors and Omissions insurance, which provides coverage to a claimant when a home inspector does not report on a significant defect. TREC will automatically suspend a home inspector who lets their insurance lapse, so if their license is current they likely have their insurance in order.
We also recommend hiring an inspector who carries general liability insurance, which is not required by law but generally a good idea for any service business. If your inspector steps through your ceiling while crawling around in the attic, you want to be sure that they can pay to fix it!
“What Does Your Home Inspection Include?”
Know exactly what you are getting in your inspection before you commit. The minimum service that you should receive in Texas is an inspection using the TREC Standards of Practice as well as a report delivered to you in less than 72 hours, but after that, inspections and auxiliary services such as sprinkler inspections and thermal imaging can vary wildly.
Make sure that you are very clear about what you want inspected and that your inspector is aware of this. If you want the detached garage in the backyard inspected, make sure to let your inspector know so that they bill for it, otherwise they will likely ignore it as detached structures are outside the scope of the inspection.
“Are You Licensed To Perform Termite/WDI Inspections?”
We would always recommend getting a termite inspection if you live in the San Antonio or New Braunfels area, so make sure you get a quote on what your inspector charges. After you get a price, make sure that they are performing the inspection themselves and not hiring a pest control company to perform the inspection instead.
Termite inspections require a different license in Texas, and inspectors that have neglected to get that license will instead sub-contract the termite inspection to a pest control company. The pest control company is happy to perform the inspection because they get an opportunity to sell the buyer on treatment, and the home inspector usually picks up a kick-back from the pest control company. Shady, but common.
“How Do You Inspect The Roof?”
This question is for homes with two or more stories. If your home inspector isn’t stuck in the 20th century, they will have a nice aerial drone that takes HD photos of the roof. This allows the inspector to safely look at your roof while also documenting it for your own purposes.
Be skeptical of home inspectors using ladders to inspect two- or three-story roofs. The practice is inherently dangerous and if they’re not insured, they could turn around and sue for damages if they fall off. Many inspectors will only visually “inspect” a roof from the ground, another shady home inspection practice.
“When Do I Receive The Home Inspection Report?”
Legally, a San Antonio Home Inspector is required to give you the report within 72 hours. In reality, if they can’t guarantee delivery of the report by the following morning at the absolute latest, you need to find another inspector. Ensure Home Inspections delivers reports before midnight in a vast majority of instances.
Option periods are short, sometimes as little as 3 days, so you need that report as soon as possible so that you can get an idea of what you’re looking at in repairs as well as getting quotes, creating a punch-list for the seller, etc.
“Does Your Home Inspection Include a Warranty or Guarantees?”
This is a trick question to weed-out home inspectors selling you lies and gimmicks. If they offer a “90-day” or “120-day” guarantee, or even worse, saying they’ll “buy your house back”, they’re fooling you. Their contract is air-tight, so you aren’t suing them unless they miss something significant due to negligence. They’ll say whatever they need to secure the sale and this is a very easy way to force their hand. Any inspector offering anything more than a money-back guarantee should be avoided.
Can you think of anything we missed? Email us at email@example.com!
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Home Inspector Kyle D. Scott
TREC # 23813 - TDA # 0819063
Ensure Home Inspections provides thorough inspections, detailed reports, and personalized consultations at affordable prices in San Antonio, TX & surrounding areas. We also offer WDI/Termite Inspections, Thermal Imaging, Drone Roof Inspections, Foundation Inspections, and more!
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Sunday 10:00am to 4:00pm