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New Orleans Home Inspection Guide

A home inspector is someone who visits your home for the purpose of a non-invasive examination on the condition of the home. Normally, a home inspection is needed when a home is being sold, but there are some other times when an inspection is needed.

A home inspector can cost anywhere from $250 to $700, depending on the market. Because of the high-cost, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. So as a homeowner, how do you know who to pick? There are a lot of home inspectors out there, regardless of what location you’re in. You want to pick the best so here is a detailed guide with everything to do about hiring a home inspector and the overall home inspection process.

1)    Can you be around for the entire inspection? Sometimes a home inspector likes to do his or her jobs alone. While this may be just a personal preference, it also lets the inspector get off easy. You want to dialogue with any specific concerns the inspector has. Remember they have the trained eye that is going to see things (and potential problems) you may not. They can show you exactly where they suspect a leak is forming. Sure it may show up on the report later, but what if you can’t get ahold of them to ask exactly what spot they saw the pending damage? You want a home inspector who is comfortable and inviting when it comes to you tagging along for the inspection.

2)    Can the home inspector provide a sample report? Normally more up-to-date inspectors have a template of their report on their website. At minimum, your potential inspectors should be able to provide you with their format on paper. You want to note how clear the report is and how detailed. It should have space for the issue, the ramifications of not repairing it and the suggested solution. There also should be space for pictures that the inspector takes.

3)    Ask the inspector for some references. A good home inspector should be able to provide references. Talk to them and see if their homes are equitable in size to yours. Don’t forget to go online also and check out their Yelp, Facebook, Google and Angie’s List reviews. Even if you find some negatives, see how the inspector handled them. Did he or she address them head-on? Or did they just ignore them? This could be a sign of what may happen if you have any issues with the inspector and how he or she will handle your issues.

4)    Is the home inspector a member of any professional organizations? ASHI is the American Society of Home Inspectors. Since 1976 this group has come together with the goal of building awareness of home inspector procedures. It’s a good starting place for a home inspector because to be a member, they have to prove their competencies in a number of areas. There are other organizations such as NAHI and InterNACHI. These groups also maintain a certain standard of work that their members have to subscribe to.

5)    What is included in the inspection? Not all inspections are the same! Be sure you get in writing beforehand what exactly the home inspector is going to be assessing. Also, understand what limitations nature puts upon your inspector. For example, if you’re having your home inspection in the dead of winter, the inspector is not going to be able to get up on the roof. You may want to hold off on the inspection if possible. If not, the inspector should be knowledgeable enough to work around any obstacles.

6)    Can ancillary inspections be done? Are they included? You also want to know if things beyond the foundation are included in the inspection. Septic systems, for example, can be included by some inspectors. Sometimes an additional portion of the property is needed to be included so be sure that you know if there are additional fees involved.

What to Expect

When it comes to actually having the home inspection, here is some information on what to expect. First of all, remember that the purpose of this inspection is to uncover issues or defects that may affect the sale price or value of the home. Now is not the time to be sensitive or not take well to criticism. If you’re the seller, you want to know exactly where you stand. What if you have a faulty foundation? You don’t want the first you hear of it coming from your potential buyer! Likely if they are bringing it up, they’ll want a hefty slash in price to go along with it. It’s a much better option to know about that foundation issue prior to sale. That way, you can decide if you want to fix the issue or how much you’re willing to come down in asking price. If you’re the buyer, don’t be discouraged by the home inspector’s words. Remember that knowing what you’re buying and any defects give you additional leverage when negotiating a fair price.

Second, be sure to note the major systems of the house: heating, a/c, water heater, etc. As a buyer or seller these are big-ticket fixes if something is wrong with them. Again- you have to decide who is going to stomach that cost and how it is going to play out in the contract. The home inspector is going to likely focus on these things also. They understand that these are the very things that can make or break a real estate deal.

Thirdly, expect the inspection to take at least a few hours. Remember that the inspector is going to be doing a detailed inspection of everything. That means that likely they’ll need to keep moving from area to area, both inside and out. The last thing you want is an inspector who rushes the job. Let them take their time to do a thorough report. In the end, that’s what is going to help you with your end of the transaction.

Finally, with home inspections if you’re the seller, expect to answer some questions. Do you know when the fireplace was put in? If there were any major repairs done? If the air conditioning system was replaced? All of these questions are going to help the home inspector to come up with the best report. Home inspection is time-consuming but that isn’t a bad thing. It means that you are going to end up with an accurate home report.