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Whether you are in the market for a new home or are looking to purchase additional property, real estate is a hefty investment. For this reason alone, it is imperative that you are educated on what your purchase entails. An investment in a home inspector is not nearly as large of an investment as purchasing property – but it is an extremely valuable one. By hiring a home inspector to analyze your potential purchase, you are ensuring that the condition of the property is not only up to your standards, but safe and up to code.

Here are a few tips for finding the best home inspector:

First and foremost, just like anything else, it is important to do your homework. Just because a home inspector has a certification or a state license, does not mean they are the man or woman for the job. To receive a state license in home inspection, one must go through training. However, some states’ training requirements are so minimal that it is nearly non-existent. Did the inspector get trained by another seasoned inspector?  Most inspectors who have went through school to get their license may have had two days of hands on training, but that is not enough time to fully understand what to check, what are actual issues, and how to do the inspection to catch more items. Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions.

Secondly, if you are working with a real estate agent, they will give you sound information and advice in the purchasing process along with a recommendation for a home inspector(s). It is important to research that recommendation in order to determine whether the inspector that you use has the expertise, customer service and amenities that meet YOUR expectations.  Verify that the inspector has a detailed report that includes pictures and videos, and uses the type of equipment to reach your desired results.

If you are doing a radon test, is the best equipment being used to get an accurate reading? Does it collect environmental data like relative humidity, barometric pressure and temperature?  By using a monitor that uses environmental data to understand the conditions in the house and possible tampering with the test.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a continuous monitor that is capable of measuring 16 counts per hour per pCi/L sensitivity for radon accuracy.

The final piece of the research should be reviews.  Most people look at reviews of products when purchasing electronics, home appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves, so why not check out reviews of inspectors on Google reviews and Angie’s List.  As you have probably found out, most people have to have a positive or negative experience to take the time to write a review. This will allow you to see comments from past customers who have been through the same process that you are now going through and learn how they felt about their inspector.

Next, make sure the inspector is affiliated with a professional organization like the American Society of Home Inspectors, which specializes in home inspections. By educating yourself and doing your homework, you can sift through the flighty inspectors and ensure you have a positive home purchasing experience.

(Posted by John Cheney of Pristine Inspections & Testing)