Home inspectors have become more professional in recent years. And though an inspection is essentially a visual assessment of a home’s condition and structure, there are a variety of additional data points that require constant awareness, diligence and training. It’s in these areas where you’ll find the differences that will separate a very good inspector from the average.
The inspector should be aware not only of appearances (especially roof, exterior and interior structure), but how things work. Plumbing, heating, air conditioning, appliances, electrical, fireplaces, fire protection, security and complex communications systems have become prolific and much more sophisticated in recent years. The newer and more expensive the home, the more likely it is to have modern and more complicated accessories, not to mention advanced HVAC systems like radiant heating, humidification and high-efficiency fireplaces, and lifestyle features such as spas and entertainment centers.
In addition to all the new data points to keep up with, today’s most advanced home inspectors are considering not just a home’s current condition, but its history as well. Inspectors, especially the professional members of NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors), are now using Property History Reports from Housefax to add value to their services by including a report with every inspection.
A home’s history can reveal past floods and fires that remain hidden today behind drywall or just some fresh paint. Water damage can leave mold that’s hidden behind the framework, which can cause a variety of environmental and health safety concerns. Building permit history can reveal additions to a home which can signal structural red flags, or that a very old roof or exterior may be well past due for replacement.
When hiring a home inspector, make sure they are licensed in your state and with a professional organization like NAHI – but even with that, you can’t always tell if they’re very good, or just average. It helps to keep some of these points in mind, and even if they don’t provide a Housefax Report with their service, you can purchase your own and draw their attention to any points of concern that may give them more insight into their final inspection report. At least it will give you and the inspector the peace of mind that you’ve done the best diligence you can, and will know as much as you can before you buy.