As the weather warms up and open houses attract prospective buyers, hiring a home inspector can provide negotiating leverage for the buyer or warn of potential problems. “No home is perfect, not even new construction,” says Brenda Avilla-Kintz, a Realtor with Legacy Real Estate & Associates in San Jose, California. “If you end up spending money on an inspection and find these red flags, then you’re out a few hundred dollars for the inspection, but it saves you potentially tens of thousands of dollars” when you negotiate the price or walk away from the property.
Not all states have licensing requirements for home inspection companies, so they can vary in terms of cost and quality. Your real estate agent may have suggestions for inspectors, but it’s a good idea to also vet them yourself. Check out the American Society of Home Inspectors website (ashi.org) to find a member inspector in your area. Meanwhile, here’s a look at the important questions to ask before hiring one.