It is a great way to get to know your dwelling in an up-close-and-personal manner, that is on-site with the home inspector when he scours your new home. If you are there while the inspection is going on then the professional home inspector can explain in person and answer any questions you may have instead of having to call him up later and get explanations via phone.
Ed Frank, president of Inspect America Engineering, P.C. in White Plains, New York is a nationally know licensed professional engineer (PE) who has thirty years of experience conducting engineering inspections for home buyers. He’s been through a lot of inspections and has worked with a lot of buyers, some of whom went on to become happy home owners and others who used his inspections when asking for repair concessions from sellers or walking away from deals completely. Frank advises home buyers to take these steps before and during the home inspecting process.
- Select a home-inspection company with top credentials. You have a goal, you want to be well informed, and you want to make a wise investment. Choose a home-inspection company that understands your needs and will work with you to help you meet your goals Choosing a home-inspection company that is licensed to practice engineering is a wise choice. If you want your home inspection conducted by a licensed PE, be sure that your home inspection report will be stamped with the home inspector’s silenced PE seal. The practice of engineering is state regulated and licensed; the PE seal on the home inspection report is the key to your protection. The practice of engineering is regulated in all states, whereas the business of home inspection is unregulated in about half of the states.
- Don’t pay twice for a home inspection. Consumers who retain the services of a home inspector who is not a PE may be faced with paying a second home inspection fee of the home inspector uncovers the problem, such as a structural defect, that requires the opinion of a licensed professional engineer.
- Obtain a written home inspection report. Be sure that your home inspection report will be a detailed written report, not a handwritten checklist that is given to you at the conclusion of the home inspection. A checklist may be void of details and may not provide all of the information and engineering advice you need.
- Inquire about important professional affiliations. Make sure that the home inspection company you retain has professional affiliations, such as NABIE (National Association of Building Inspection Engineers) and NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers). Unlike home inspection trade societies, NABIE and NSPE accept only licensed PE’s as members. Members of NABIE need to meet tough entrance requirements, are highly qualified in the home inspection professions, and adhere to the strict code of ethics.
- Don’t be confused by home inspector “certifications,” These certifications are offered by, or sold by, trade societies or companies, or obtained via home inspection home-study courses. Such certifications are available to anybody-a high school diploma is not a requirement and certifications can be readily purchased.
- Attend the home inspection. Expect to spend about two hours with the inspector. One picture is worth a thousand words, and you’ll gain a unique perspective on the home and its systems.
- Make sure the home inspector is well-equipped. The home inspection engineer should be fully equipped with necessary engineering tools including electrical testers, a fuel gas, a carbon monoxide detector, a moisture meter, a ladder, an inspection mirror, a flashlight, a level, and other home inspection tools.
- Follow the inspector around and ask questions: No questions are foolish. Learn as much as you can from the home inspector during the home inspection.
- Consider optional tests. Where applicable, they can include testing underground storage tanks, testing paint for lead, testing drinking water for lead, testing well-supplied drinking water for bacteria, testing for radon gas in the air, and testing for urea formaldehyde foam insulation.
- Obtain a full oral report from the home inspector at the time of the home inspection. The home inspection engineering report should be available the next working day after the home inspection but a full oral report should be obtained at the conclusion of the home inspection.