When you’re buying or selling a home, a professional home inspection is a crucial step to help you make an informed real estate decision. A certified home inspector will provide you with information regarding the condition of the inspected elements of the home as they exist at the time of inspection. It’s important to remember that rarely is a home all good or all bad, and a home inspection isn’t a pass/fail. A home inspection is a tool designed to help homeowners, prospective buyers and real estate agents learn more about a specific property.
HouseMaster serving Northern California provides comprehensive home inspections performed by highly trained and certified home inspectors. Not every home inspection company can provide our expertise or match our level of service. If you’re looking for a home inspector, below are a few questions to ensure your home inspection is done right -- guaranteed!
1. What does the inspection include?
Standard home inspection reports from HouseMaster serving Northern California include the roof, attic, foundation, basement or crawl space, exterior and interior of the home, as well as major systems including heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing and water heater. We use the proven HouseMaster home inspection method to make sure we cover all aspects of the home during the inspection process. HouseMaster serving Northern California delivers the completed report within 24-48 hours. Our reports are very detailed and include photographs.
2. Can I see a sample report?
Report quality can vary; not all inspectors are created equal when properly documenting conditions. A professionally prepared report will be much more credible, making it easier for the seller to consider repairs or negotiations if needed. Keep in mind that a home inspector is not typically licensed to do repairs related to anything the inspection uncovers. In fact, an ethical home inspection company will not provide repair estimates or referrals to specific service providers because this could be a conflict of interest. At HouseMaster serving Northern California, our reports clearly document noted conditions and, when needed, provide a general recommendation for additional evaluation or service by a qualified professional.
3. Are your inspectors certified?
California doesn’t require licensing for home inspectors (beyond a business license). As such, it’s important to ask a potential inspector if they have any industry-specific certifications and how they keep their knowledge up to date. Inspectors employed by HouseMaster serving Northern California are trained and certified through the National Institute of Building Inspectors (NIBI), with annual recertifications required. Our current team has many years of experience inspecting single family homes, condos, townhomes and multi-unit dwellings in California.
4. Is your company insured?
As with any service professional, a home inspector should have professional liability insurance in the event of unintentional damage to a customer’s property. Home inspectors also need errors and omissions (E&O) insurance in the event there is an issue regarding the inspection report findings. This coverage not only helps protect the inspector’s business, it is an indication that the inspector has established, or is part of, a legitimate and professional home inspection company that takes its business and its commitment to customers seriously.
5. How do you determine the inspection fee?
Home inspection fees are typically determined by the type of dwelling (single family home, multi-family units, condo, mobile home, etc.). The fee may also vary by total square footage, age of the property, type of foundation, roof style, number of bedrooms, and other factors. At HouseMaster serving Northern California, we base our fees on the type of dwelling and the total square footage. We do not charge additional fees for foundation type, age of the home, or other factors. We offer competitive rates, optional escrow billing, and a 10% discount for inspections scheduled by a real estate professional.
Keep in mind that the lowest home inspection quote may not be backed by professional training, certification and experience, making it much more likely that the inspection may be less comprehensive and, in the worst case, simply wrong. Buying a home is one of the most significant lifetime investments you will make; saving a few dollars on a home inspection could cost you a lot more down the road.
6. Can I attend the inspection?
A good home inspector will welcome clients and agents to attend the inspection and ask questions. As with any service professional, attendees need to be respectful of the process, providing room for the inspector to work and timing queries carefully. When possible, the number of attendees should be limited as the inspector needs to have room to inspect elements and also needs to be mindful of the time spent doing the inspection. With these stipulations in mind, HouseMaster serving Northern California welcomes inspection attendees. Additionally, we are always available to answer questions about the report after it is completed.
7. What if the inspector misses something?
When choosing a home inspection company, look for one that is confident in its ability to provide you with the most thorough inspection and is willing to stand behind that promise. HouseMaster serving Northern California offers home buyers a 90-day limited repair reimbursement guarantee. Remember that a home inspection documents the current condition of readily visible and accessible elements. If an element can’t be inspected, the inspector should state that on the report and why. For elements that become accessible after the inspection, ask if the inspector will be able to return to inspect these items, and if there will be an additional fee to come back. Also inquire if there is a re-inspection fee if repairs or updates to elements are made after the initial inspection and an updated report is desired.
HouseMaster serving Northern California is your experienced professional for home inspections! Whether you are buying or selling a single family home, condo or townhome, multi-family dwelling, or other residential property, you will receive a comprehensive and timely home inspection report to help you understand the current condition of the property.
HouseMaster NorCal is an independently owned and operated company that values professionalism, honesty and integrity. We are one of 300+ home inspection providers in the HouseMaster franchise system, founded in 1979, and are part of the Neighborly family of brands.