When you’re about to buy a home, it only makes sense to order a home inspection — so you can know what you’re getting into before purchasing, asking the seller to make repairs, and/or backing out of the deal, if necessary. The only problem? Trying to choose a Chicago home inspector can be tricky. Search the market, and you’ll find there are many options. How do you know which home inspector to select? Who can you trust?
To help answer these questions, here are some top tips to keep in mind when hunting for reliable, efficient, cost-effective inspections services in Chicagoland:
- Ask others. If you have trusted friends and family members who have recently bought homes in your area, ask them what inspector they used. You may find that someone can recommend a provider from firsthand experience.
- Read testimonials. Another way to get good advice on inspectors in your area is to read testimonials from previous clients. How many happy customers are giving credit to the inspector’s service? Does anyone have qualms about using the company again?
- Look for an inspector with broad knowledge. While there are many details specialized contractors can tell you about a home, for a home inspection, be sure to find someone with a broad knowledge of household structures. The right inspector will be able to evaluate everything from plumbing to foundation issues to roofing problems.
- Look for an inspector with objectivity. In order to be sure you’re getting the best, most unbiased information about a property, find an inspector who is independent, rather than one licensed by a specific real estate agency.
- Verify the inspector’s license. If you live in a state that regulates home inspectors, that is a great resource for checking a potential inspector’s credentials. Contact the state agency to verify that your inspector has a current license and ask about his or her record.
- Find out how long the inspector has been in business. Working with an established inspector means working with someone who’s been performing inspections a long time, and probably encountered all kinds of unique situations and complications. This insider information is to your advantage, as it gives you someone with greater capacity to inspect a home.
- Ask about insurance. Look for an inspector who carries errors and omissions insurance. This protects you in case the inspector is negligent in the inspection.
- Ask what the inspection will include. Before agreeing to work with a certain home inspector, find out what will be included in his or her service. A good inspection will involve an investigation of both exterior and interior features, including electrical, plumbing, garages, baths, kitchen, insects, foundation, parapets, the chimney (if there is one), slabs, basements and crawl spaces, the attic, roofing, gutters, downspouts and any other structures on the property. Typically, this project takes two to four hours to complete, so feel free to ask the inspector about a time frame you can expect, too.
- Ask to see a sample inspection. Ask to see a previous inspection to get a good sense of what someone will provide you. A good inspector will be happy to send you a sample report, to show off his or her work.
- Know what inspections cost. Typically, pick a home inspector who charges between $250 and $800 for his or her service. For normal houses, this is the standard range, for mold and air sample testing the prices can be on the higher end of this range. However, this rate can go higher for structures, depending on their age and specifics.
Finding the right home inspector for you is a matter of taking time to do your research and asking the right questions. When you’re trying to decide which Chicago home inspector to use, follow the tips above. At Chicago Metro Home Inspections, we’d be thrilled to be your choice. Visit our inspection services page to learn more, or contact us today to set up an appointment.