Previously, buyers simply relied on their own impressions of the home and the representations of the seller and/or his real estate agent. Today, the process is quite different. Most real estate purchase contracts for single-family homes now give the buyer fairly broad rights to order one or more professional inspections of the home before completing the purchase.
Home inspection made its debut as a consumer service in the 1970's. Since then, selecting a Home Inspector has become almost as important as selecting a qualified Real Estate agent, or even selecting the right home itself.
The growth of home inspection services is the result of several factors. First, has been the fact that over the past several decades Courts have made real estate estate agents ever-more responsible for disclosure of property defects. Disclosure has come to include not only what the agent actually knew, but also what he should have known being a real estate professional. Having a property inspected by another professional, particularly one with expertise, transfers some of the liability for defects to the other professional.
Second, as the home inspection profession has matured and inspection companies have promoted their services, more consumers have become aware of the benefits of an inspection. With full inspections of an average-size single-family home running in the range of $200 to $300, many buyers see the value of including an inspection in making what may be the biggest purchase of their life, often well over a hundred thousand dollars.
Regulation of Inspectors
Historically, the home inspection business has been unlicensed and unregulated. And, that continues to be so in most states even today. In those states, just about anyone with a checklist, a flashlight, and maybe a stepladder can set up and operate a home inspection service.
Finding a competent and diligent inspector can be a challenge.
The lack of regulation is changing rapidly. A number of states are now setting up strict licensing programs for home inspectors. They are requiring experience, education, and testing.
However, it will be years before these programs are fully implemented in most states and some states are not even heading in this direction. So, in the meantime, whether your state provides any kind of protection or not, we recommend selecting a home inspector using the following procedures.
Selecting a Home Inspector
Most real estate agents can probably recommend several well-qualified home inspectors. There are also other resources for tracking down potential inspectors. However, even after you have a list of potentials you still need to select the best candidates among the group. Here are some of the important factors to consider:
- Training & Experience
- Scope of Inspection
- Sample report
- Type of Business Entity
- Disclaimers in Contract
The above topics are discussed in much more depth
on our members' Using Property Inspection Services page.
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