We’ve heard all about it in the news. Home sales reached all-time highs last year. According to Statista.com, home sales in the U.S. peaked in 2021 at almost seven million after rising steadily since 2011. And though the market has since started to contract, home sales still abound. But buying or selling a home isn’t a decision you should take lightly. While new construction generally comes with warranties to cover unexpected problems, existing construction (i.e., an older home) is often out of warranty and may need tender loving care. This is where the importance of a home inspection comes into play.

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is often ordered by the buyer of an existing home or via the real estate agent representing the sale. Home inspection reports provide insights into the property’s condition, including a list of areas in the house that need attention. Typical problem areas identified in a home inspection include the following:

  • Grade sloping back towards the home
  • Stucco issues
  • Outdated roofing materials
  • Electrical wiring not up to code
  • Leaky faucets

When we identify these issues, the home buyers can decide to pull out of the deal if they feel there are too many issues to correct. Or, buyers can go back to the sellers and ask for accommodation, either asking the seller to fix the items before closing or lowering the sales price so the buyers can have the repairs done later.

But when it comes to home inspections, you must work with a home inspector that you can trust. And not all home inspectors are the same. Check out this list of six things that you should be on the lookout for when you decide to hire a home inspector.

Not all home inspectors are the same

As we said before, purchasing a home is a big decision. So, when it comes to your home inspector, you want to ensure that they’ll have your back so that you can be well-informed in deciding to move forward with the purchase. And that begs the question – how do you hire a home inspector, and what traits should you look for? After all, finding the right inspector requires looking beyond credentials.

1.     Don’t assume your real estate agent’s referral is the end all be all

While we hope your realtor is a stand-up professional, you should know that many agents get perks for recommending certain inspectors. For example, they may have a gentleman’s handshake behind the scenes, allowing them to get a small commission if you go with their recommendation. This said it doesn’t mean you should throw out the baby with the bathwater. Take your real estate agent’s recommendation, but consider our other recommendations as well.

2.     Make sure that the home inspector follows the local inspection standards of practice

When researching home inspectors, look for one that follows a tried-and-true process to ensure they do not overlook any critical areas of the home. While it’s rare to find a home inspector that doesn’t follow some standard operations protocol (SOP), it does happen. At Harrison Home Inspection, we follow a tried and true inspection process, covering all aspects of your home – roof, attic, exterior, basement structure, heating and cooling systems, fireplace, plumbing, electrical, and interior. Consider this SOP the home inspection checklist that ensures everything important is reviewed in process.

3.      Look for InterNACHI certification

Just as your inspector must have a documented process, an InterNACHI certification provides extra peace of mind. InterNACHI is the world’s leading trade organization of residential and commercial property inspectors. Licensed home inspectors in New Jersey must have completed an approved live course of study of 180 hours. Forty of these hours must include non-compensated field-based inspections under the direct supervision of a licensed home inspector.

4.     Check their responsiveness and availability

Many home inspectors are great at their trade but aren’t necessarily good at the business side of things. Though a busy inspector is a sign that they are in high demand, it doesn’t give an excuse not to return your inquiries promptly. You should expect a timely response within one to two business days. Inspectors know that home inspection is a critical aspect of your purchase. And the best ones understand that the inspection can delay the process. So ensure that your inspector gets back to you reasonably, not just for the inspection itself but for the follow-up report that you need to move forward.

5.     Check their experience

Everyone needs to get a start somewhere, but we advise you not to gamble on an inspector brand new to the trade unless they are working in an apprentice environment. At Harrison Home Inspection, we have two years of experience in the business and we’ve done over 200 inspections. We know what to look for, and we understand what prospective homeowners want to know. The more seasoned the home inspector, the more likely they are to have trade knowledge about sneaky problems that could be hiding in your future home.

6.     Pay attention to ratings and reviews

Knowing that others had a good or bad experience with the product or service you are considering is good to know with any business. And it is no different when it comes to home inspections. Look for Google reviews, Trustpilot ratings, or customer testimonials on the inspector’s website. An inspector doesn’t need to have ratings in all of these places. As long as there is a place where you can check on the satisfaction of other customers, that’s what counts. And just because they have reviews doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read them. Pay attention to what customers have said about traits such as professionalism, responsiveness, value, and quality of work. If you come across a bad review, don’t hesitate to ask the inspector about it to see what they say.

Do you need a home inspector in New Jersey?

Harrison Home Inspection offers residential inspections, radon testing, mold testing, thermal imaging, termite inspection, and sewer scope inspections in Hudson and Essex County, New Jersey. We believe in making the home-buying process as safe and seamless as possible. When we do your home inspection, you’ll gain the insight you need about your future home’s condition. Whether the house is in excellent move-in-ready condition or needs some tender loving care, we’re here to give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

If you’ve been online searching for a home inspector near me, we’re glad to tell you that you’ve come to the right place. Schedule your home inspection with Harrison Home Inspection today.