If you're thinking of buying a home, one of the most important things you can do is to get the home inspected. If you're thinking of buying a home in Georgia, it's important to know a couple of things about home inspection, in general, and home inspectors in our state, in particular.
First, Georgia does not license home inspectors. In other words, practically anyone can decide to be a home inspector, market themselves as a home inspector, and start conducting home inspections. What does this mean to you, as a buyer? This means that you should choose your home inspector very carefully. It's highly likely your REALTOR® has a list of home inspectors that they trust and depend upon and can refer to you, and it's also a good idea to ask friends and family who have recently purchased a home for their referrals. Remember, you do get what you pay for, so don't necessarily choose the inspector with the cheapest rates, without first looking for qualifications for that inspector and doing some research into his or her training and past customer reviews.
Second, you may want to take the list of home inspectors that your REALTOR® recommends (every good REALTOR® will always recommend more than one) and then reach out, talk with them, and hire the one you feel is the best fit. If a friend or family member has also recommended an inspector to you, reach out to that person, too. In short, ask some important questions so that you can be sure you're choosing the one that you are most comfortable with to inspector your future home.
Here are some questions you may consider asking your home inspector, in order to make a good, educated choice:
Questions To Ask To Help You Choose a Home Inspector
What is the inspector's experience? How long have they been a home inspector? What training did they receive and how often do they take follow-up classes or education to stay on top of their craft? What was their previous occupation? Bonus points if it was related to construction or a similar field.
In which associations do they have an active membership? Are they a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the Georgia Association of Home Inspectors, or similar organization(s)?
Do they hold any state or code authority certifications? Previous contractor experience is a plus, especially if they are inspecting new construction. The International Code Council (ICC) issues certifications such as Building/Electrical/Mechanical/Plumbing Inspector, etc.
How long have they been an inspector here in Georgia? Even though Georgia has no state licensing authority for home inspectors, you will want to make sure they are familiar with building specs locally. For example, someone who was a home inspector in Massachusetts may have experience with boilers and ice damming, but may not have comparable experience with synthetic stucco (EIFS), heat pumps or mold common in the south.
Do they provide, in advance, a written service agreement outlining the scope of the work that will be performed during the inspection?You want to be able to review what the inspector will and won't, can and cannot inspect, and to be able to compare inspectors' agreements.
Do they perform repair work or provide quotes for the work they recommend in their report? This, to us, is an obvious conflict of interest. While it may seem t provide an aspect of convenience, you should hire an inspector whose sole job is to inspect.
Do they provide any kind of guarantee for their work? What recourse do you have if it appears the inspector has missed something that costs you time and money later to have repaired?
Do you have a question about buying a home or hiring a home inspector? Please reach out to us at 404-994-2181 or email Ben(at)BuySellLiveAtlanta(dot)com.