You’ve gone to countless open houses, searched online for months, and have finally found the house of your dreams, but before signing your name on the dotted line there are a few key steps you should not overlook.  When purchasing a home, hiring the right home inspector can be the most important decision you make.  Knowing the condition of the house you are going to purchase cannot be left to appearances or promises, and some undetected problems can be even more costly than the price of the house itself.  Making sure you have the services of a home inspector who knows what he or she is doing can prevent what should be a great investment from becoming a financial disaster.  So what steps can you take to be sure your home inspector is qualified?  Here are a few things to consider.

How Long Have They Been In The Business, And What Is Their Professional Background?

The housing market has steadily increased over the last several decades, and the home inspection business is booming.  With new home inspectors becoming certified each day from a variety of programs, hiring the services of an experienced inspector can really make a difference.  Though experience is always a good indicator of qualifications, also consider hiring an inspector who has a background in the housing industry, whether as a real estate agent or home builder.

What Are Their Qualifications?

With the incredible number of courses and schools offering certification in home inspection, knowing where your home inspector got their training and whether or not the course is actually recognized by the certifying body in your area is definitely worth the extra time to find out.  Always ask to see proof of their certification, and make the necessary calls to the institution if there is any doubt.

Do They Have References?

This may seem an obvious question to ask any professional, but many people skip this step, and even fewer actually follow up on the references that they ask for.  Always call the references that your home inspector provides, and be sure they can give you at least three recent referrals.

How Much Do They Charge?

While the costs involved in purchasing a new home can add up quickly, the temptation to try to save when hiring a home inspector should be resisted.  Call several home inspectors for quotes, and if the one you have selected is considerably cheaper than the others, ask yourself why.  Most certified and qualified home inspectors know what the competition is charging and will usually charge a similar rate.

While all this work may seem like a lot of effort for what may turn out to be just red tape, if there is a serious problem with the property you are hoping to buy and it goes undetected, what should be your greatest investment may turn out to be your greatest liability.