For most of us, our home is the biggest investment of our lives. When shopping for real estate, do not underestimate the importance of getting a quality home inspector to thoroughly inspect the property. Start by asking your real estate agent for referrals. Friends and even mortgage officers and contractors can also be very helpful.
Here are a few practical tips for choosing a good home inspector: Make sure the inspector you choose is licensed by the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board (919) 662-4480. Don’t choose an inspector based on the lowest quote. Make your choice based on who is the best. Ask the inspector or your real estate agent to give you a copy of actual written inspection reports done by different inspectors (with names and addresses blocked out of course) so that you can review and compare them. Choose an inspector who will allow you to accompany him during the inspection if you would like to go. Make sure your inspector is knowledgeable about the major parts of a house: foundation and structural integrity, electrical system, plumbing system, heating and air conditioning systems, roof, mold and moisture, drainage issues, etc. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Some inspectors give equal attention to the big ticket items and the small ticket items. Tell your inspector to spend the majority of his time on the major systems in the house. Consider getting a walk through inspection BEFORE you even make an offer. You won’t get a written report. Instead, you’ll just get a basic review of the major systems and any specific areas of concern. If you want a walk through inspection, your Realtor will know who does them in your area. The inspector may charge an average of about $125, but the extra cost will be well worth the extra protection and knowledge that you will gain. If you decide to make an offer after the walk through, you will still need to get a full blown inspection at a later date. But, if a walk through inspection reveals items that need repair or replacement, reflect that in your initial offer. If the walk through inspection reveals major problems, you may decide not to even make an offer.
Follows these steps and you will protect your investment against unwarranted repairs.
Noel B. McDevitt, Jr. is the Managing Broker of McDevitt Sotheby's International Realty, offering premium Southern Pines and Pinehurst, North Carolina real estate