Should I Hire a Home Inspector From My Realtor's List?

The home buying process is a hectic, some times scary time in a homebuyer's life. There are a lot of papers to sign, a lot of houses to visit to find the one that is perfect for you and your family and you usually only have five to seven days to hire a home inspector and get your home inspection completed.

When you find that perfect house and it is time to hire a home inspector should you hire someone from your Realtor's list of preferred inspectors or should you do a Google search of local home inspectors and check their reviews to see what their past clients have said about them?

The debate about hiring the Realtor's choice of inspector is that some Realtors are only going to have inspectors who perform "soft inspections", inspectors who will overlook some items and not "kill the deal", placed on their list of preferred home inspectors. These inspectors are the ones who want to stay on the Realtor's list so they won't mention some serious defects or will minimize the extent of a problem so that the sale moves along smoothly and the Realtor receives their commission. Generally, the Realtors who refer this type of home inspector are the Realtors who sells homes on the side while working their real job during the week.

There are actually "Realtors" out there who are also "home inspectors". Can you say conflict of interest? Do you really want to have the house, that you are spending tens of thousands of dollars on, inspected by a Realtor/home inspector?

The Realtors that have been around for a while and their only job is selling homes will usually take better care of the homebuyers and recommend a more thorough inspector. They want what is best for their clients and they want their past clients to refer family and friends to them.

Hiring your own home inspector doesn't take long and could save you a lot of money and headaches down the road. A simple Google search of who you are looking to hire can supply you with some much needed information. Once you narrow down your search call the inspectors and "interview" them, ask them how long they have been inspecting homes, if they only inspect homes for a living or if they have another job that they work during the week, ask them how long the inspection will take, ask how many pages long the inspection report is, how long the inspection will take.

You want to make sure that the home inspector you choose has been inspecting homes for a while, there are a lot of new inspectors out there who will offer a low price to get the job, but do you really want an inexperienced inspector performing your inspection? You also don't want to hire an inspector who does this as a part time job there is too much work involved keeping up with the many changes that happen with building practices to try to do this on a part time basis. If an inspector works by themselves and tells you the inspection will take less than two hours to perform you should move on to calling the next inspector on your list, if it's a team of inspectors doing the inspection you can plan on being at the inspection for an hour and a half or less. Also if the inspector you are looking to hire says that your inspection report will be less than 20 pages long it is probably a good idea to choose a different home inspector.

You should also plan on being at the inspection, this is helpful in case there is a major issue and also this is a good chance to learn about your new home.