Our industry is still relatively new. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the home inspection industry was born. Prior to this, buyer’s typically didn’t know what exactly they were getting themselves into, and certainly didn’t have the knowledge of security that modern homebuyers have after the inspection is complete.
According to Inspection Certification Associates, “Before the 1970s, most people bought homes without the benefit of real knowledge. But in the early part of the decade, a new term cropped up: contractor’s inspection. That’s according to John Bowman, a home inspector, author, retired contractor and NACHI executive director. A contractor’s inspection covered the basics of a home based on the construction knowledge of the provider. But Bowman explains, “That was not enough for the buying public.” Homes were expensive and complicated. In 1975, Home Inspecting got organized. Once the buying public realized that the information they needed was available, it wasn’t long before the industry began to take shape. Knowledge about homes and home systems was clearly marketable. So knowledgeable people came together in 1975 to discuss inspection methods and create a few standards.” (See more here)
Unlike the real estate and construction industries, inspectors do not have hundreds of years of past experience. This makes it harder than it would be to find a reputable contractor who has been around since the 1900’s and has a strong track record through the ensuing 10 decades or so.
How then, do you choose a home inspector? I’ll give you 4 thing to look for below, but because they are all important, they all begin with the number 1.
Look for a strong construction background
When you hire the next home inspector to come in and ensure that your next home purchase is free from material defects, check to ensure that there is strong background in construction present. This is often overlooked, because a home inspector is not required to have ever been actively involved in the construction industry! You can enter into the home inspection business with several backgrounds: engineer, architect, general contractor, or licensed home builder. Your past experience in that profession is never a factor. At Sterling, we combine for over 40 years of construction experience, which is nearly as many years as the home inspection industry has been around.
Are they Reputable?
If you don’t know of an inspector off hand, and most people do not, ask your realtor or lender for a good home inspector! Because these professionals work with home inspectors on a regular basis, they aren’t going to send their best clients to a shady or non-reliable home inspector.
Do they go beyond the Standard, or do they do the minimum?
When we enter the home to complete an inspection, we come in with tools that go above and beyond what most home inspectors are required to carry. Why? Simply for this reason: If a defect exists, we want to find it regardless of whether is is easily observable, or whether we have to dig a bit to find it. While it is not always possible to find every defect (as many may be completely covered, such as the foundation) we want to increases our chances to the highest degree. For example, we use Infrared Cameras. The purpose is because an infrared camera will detect a difference in temperature at spots in the walls where moisture may be present. In that case, we would then use a moisture meter to confirm the presence of moisture.
What is do their reviews say?
People with whom they have worked for in the past should provide a snapshot of what you can come to expect from them. Were they on time? Were they in a hurry? Did they explain the important components of the house, and identify where important shutoffs (gas and water) were located? Did they take pictures beyond 1 or 2? Did they make you feel like you were the most important part of the transaction? Because in fact, as the client, you are.
We believe strongly in the importance of our profession. We take pride in the name, and in the job that we do. We understand that the go ahead for a 30 year mortgage is often resting on whether or not we adequately do our jobs. We aren’t concerned with the theory of risk, because we want to perform our jobs with the utmost attention to detail ensuring that we miss nothing, and identify everything observable, for our reputation’s sake and the client’s well being.
We view ourselves as your last, but most important line of defense.
Spencer Brothers, CPI
Sterling Home Inspection, LLC