Q: Do you recommend that home sellers hire a home inspector before listing their home?

A: Absolutely. Condition of your home plays a big part in the sale. Getting a pre-listing inspection helps the home seller have a better understanding of what issues may come up when prospective buyers are looking at the house.

Q: What questions should home owners/buyers ask their inspector before hiring one?

1. How much home inspection service do you have? The answer should be at least 10 years experience.
2. Do you have Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance? "Yes" is the only good answer.
3. Do you take digital pictures? Once again, "Yes" should be the answer.
4. Will I have a computer generated report within 24 hours? They better. Modern technology and software makes this very easy.
5. Can I follow along with you while you inspect? It is your inspection, you should be able to.
Also, make sure to consider the kind of attitude/bedside manner the inspector has. You need someone who can communicate with you.

Q: Should the client be involved with the inspection?

A: Absolutely! This is a highly educational process. If you really want to get the most out of an inspection, attend and ask questions. Make sure your inspector is willing to let you shadow him through the process. If he is not, get another inspector. You do not get a manual with a house, a good inspector is the next best thing.

Q: What can a home owner do to help with the inspection process?

A: A seller must make sure that everything is accessible and ready to go. Change the dead light bulbs and make sure that the inspector can access any mechanical system. Buyers need to show up with a pad, a pen and an open mind.

Q: What can a client do if he/she doesn't like what the inspector did?

A: Most problems are communication issues between the inspector and a client that did not attend. The easiest solution is prevention. Select an inspector with a reputation for good written and oral communication and ATTEND the inspection. After the fact, I recommend a calm phone call. If that does not work the state licensing organization or BBB will do the job.

Q: How does someone know they are hiring a reputable inspector?

A: I am a huge fan of networking to find reputable participants. Most buyers do not have enough experience to know who is the best inspector. Good agents, on the other hand, know who the good inspectors are. Some will say that there is a conflict with agents recommending. Some mediocre agents will recommend "pet" inspectors that will not rock the boat. Good agents, though, know who is thorough and fair. They also know that a good inspection protects all parties. If you trust your agent, trust their recommendations.

Q: Any closing thoughts?

A: There is no reason for an inspection to negatively affect the participants when it is conducted in a fair and thorough manner. If the inspector is a know it all jerk, he can really cause a bunch of problems -- especially if he's also an alarmist. The good thing is that most inspectors aren't this way, but, once again, selecting the right inspector up front saves lots of problems.

Sample Sample Inspection Report
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