When you’re buying a new home, you’re not only getting that gorgeous ensuite or state of the art kitchen. Included in the package are any potential problems, such as a leaky roof or ancient plumbing that can cause problems and affect your ability to obtain a favorable insurance package. Your best way to avoid these issues is to get a home inspection.
The Role of the Home Inspector
Home inspectors are responsible for finding major—and expensive—problems with a home. They are professionals who use their skills, insights, and experience to detect issues like the following:
- Major structural issues that could render the property uninsurable
- Old roofs with evidence of leaks. Many home insurance companies will not write new policies or renew existing ones if the roof is over 20 years old
- Older galvanized or cast iron plumbing systems, which will have to be replaced with newer materials to qualify for coverage
- Electrical systems with a mix of copper and aluminum wiring
Choosing the Right Inspector
A new home is one of the largest investments you will ever make, so it is important to choose your home inspector wisely. Here are five important factors that should guide your decision.
- Level of experience
Ask the inspector how long they have been in business, and how many inspections they have performed. This is not to say you should dismiss a relative newcomer completely, as they may have gained a lot of experience in a short amount of time, but ideally you want someone who has been inspecting homes long or often enough to form a reliable and accurate opinion.
- Professional affiliations and accreditations
In Florida, home inspectors must be licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, so verify that the inspector you’re interviewing has the appropriate credentials. Memberships in recognized organizations such as the National Association of Home Inspectors and the International Conference of Building Officials suggests an extra depth of industry involvement.
- Report style
You want to work with a home inspector who will give you a detailed written report after the inspection. Many professionals simply use a checklist with stock responses, which can be difficult to interpret and can overlook the details you need. Confirm that the inspector concludes each session with a complete report that includes precise and specific comments about the house and its condition, including items that need maintenance and/or repair. Make sure they include a “Mitigation Verification” inspection report and “Four Point”(if home >30yrs) inspection report as these are essential in soliciting and purchasing homeowners insurance.
- Equipment used
A detailed home inspection calls for more than a walk-through with a flashlight. Home inspectors today should be using many of the newer testing technologies, such as digital moisture meter, stud/metal detectors and electrical circuit analyzers. If you come across one that can’t or won’t use these modern tools, look elsewhere.
Although price should not be a deciding factor, it can be a tiebreaker when you’re faced with two or more equally qualified home inspectors.
Having a home inspection on a property that you want to buy does not mean you will pay less insurance, but it will expose problems that could cause your insurance to go up. If you have questions about the home inspection process and what it could mean for your premiums, contact We Insure Agent Rick Leal today.