1.) Beware of Tampa area home inspectors recommended by your realtor. Florida, unlike some states, allows real estate agents and other professionals to make recommendations on what home inspector you should hire. There is an inherent, and obvious conflict of interest. Realtors want to sell houses and may be inclined to refer home inspectors who might gloss over any serious problems. Read Ten Things Your Realtor Won't Tell You. Such problems can wind up costing you a bundle. a recommendation does not necessarily guarantee that the home inspector is the best choice. Make your own decision based on your research. Many home-buyers rely on their real estate agent for a referral to an inspector, but there is a potential conflict of interest present. Read Home Inspectors Can Give New Home Owners "Rotten Deal". There is no better way for a Real Estate Agent to ensure that their sales are not jeopardized, than to feed an unsuspecting, trusting homebuyer a choice of poor inspectors. Many home inspectors are dependent upon agent referrals to stay in business. As a result, they tend to minimize defects to keep the referring agents happy. Obviously, this is not in your best interest. Read Home Inspectors Under Scrutiny For Payments to Realtors. Over 75% of our business comes from prior clients; referrals from friends, family and work associates who were prior clients; agents and brokers referring their relatives or close friends, or having their own homes inspected; and home buyers who found us on their own, and did extensive research. Read Another Unscrupulous Realtor-Inspector Relationship. Of course not every real estate agent is waiting to take advantage of you, there are certainly many ethical agents who want their clients to get the best inspection possible. If you are comfortable with your agent, by all means listen to their advice. Regardless, do your homework.
2.) Avoid home inspectors in the Tampa Bay area who quote you low-ball prices. The least expensive home inspector is very likely to have the least knowledge, experience, and spend the least amount of time doing the inspection. The less time they spend, the less likely they are to find the faults and problems that you are paying them to detect. Likewise, they are also going to give you the least comprehensive reports. Read Numerous Law Suits Against One Home Inspector. Realtors will often refer "cheap" inspectors to you, sometimes as a kind act of saving you a little money, while actually setting you up with an inspector that may end up costing you a fortune. See the Web Site The House From Hell. The age old adage "you get what you pay for" is incredibly true in the home inspection business, and believe me, Realtors know it!
3.) Only consider an ASHI Certified Home Inspector. Your best assurance of hiring a qualified inspector is finding one who can prove to you that they are a CERTIFIED MEMBER of the American Society of Home Inspectors. To become a Certified ASHI Home Inspector, individuals must pass a rigorous examination, and perform over 250 verified inspections to standard. In addition, after they become certified, they must undergo at least 20 hours of continuing education every year. Please note that some unscrupulous inspectors falsely claim to be ASHI Certified. If they are truly ASHI Certified, they will present you with their Certification number without hesitation. If you have any doubts, you can call ASHI at 800-743-2744 (or 847-290-1919), and they will confirm whether any particular inspector is ASHI Certified.
4.) Ask for references. A professional home inspector should be happy to provide you with three references from previous clients. Call those clients and ask them about their experience with their home inspections.
5.) Make sure they’re insured. A professional home inspector should have substantial general business liability insurance, and some (particularly new inspectors) are insured for "errors and omissions", commonly called E&O insurance. This means that if the home inspector misses something during the home inspection, you can file a claim against that insurance for the repairs of the problem. If you decide on the cheapest home inspection price you can find, you better verify their E&O insurance first, because there is a good chance that you may need it! Also, check the home inspector’s contract for limited liability clauses that limit their responsibility for damages.
6.) Consider your Home Inspection an investment. If the inspection reveals that your prospective home is in fine condition, then you can proceed with the purchase as you wish to. If problems are revealed, then you have the option of either compelling the seller to fix the problems before you close, making adjustments to the selling price, or receiving money at the closing to finance the necessary repairs. However, if the home inspection uncovers major problems that the seller can not or will not fix to your satisfaction, and will not reduce the home's selling price to allow for, then, depending on the provisions of the contract, you probably do not have to proceed with the home purchase. You will have avoided the substantial expenses for enormous repairs that you would have inherited if you had bought the house. By helping you determine the true condition of a house, a good home inspector can either clear the way for your purchase, help assure that you are adequately compensated for any problems you inherit with the home purchase, or help you avoid the costly mistake of buying a home with problems you want no part of. Read Hire a Tough, Experienced Home Inspector. This investment (home inspection) can pay for itself in savings or help provide you peace of mind with one of the biggest financial commitments you will ever make.
7.) Ask to see one of their inspection reports. At the conclusion of any home inspection, you should receive a report on the home inspector’s findings. Again, home inspectors are going to vary widely – report styles can range from the minimal checklist to the jargon-filled narrative. Home inspection reports can be difficult to understand, so it’s important that you check out a sample home inspection report. Items marked as "fair", "poor", or "inadequate" without any further explanation will not help you understand what the problem is or what exactly to repair. Make sure that the home inspector always specifies the exact problem and recommended repairs. The home inspector should also indicate an estimated cost of any repairs he or she recommends.