Choosing the right home inspector in Ohio can be a crucial step in your home-buying journey. A home inspection is an essential process that helps identify potential issues and ensure the safety and integrity of a property before finalizing a purchase. In Ohio, where weather conditions and local building practices can significantly affect a home’s condition, having a knowledgeable and experienced inspector is paramount. This blog post will guide you through the process of finding a reliable home inspector in the Buckeye State, including what to look for, questions to ask, and how to understand their findings to make an informed decision about your prospective new home.
Understanding the Role of a Home Inspector in Ohio
A home inspector plays a crucial role in the process of buying or selling a house. They are responsible for conducting a thorough examination of the property to assess its condition and identify any potential issues or problems. Here are some key aspects of their role:
Property Evaluation: Home inspectors inspect various aspects of a home, including its structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), roofing, insulation, and more. They evaluate the overall condition of these components to ensure they meet safety standards and are in good working order.
Identification of Issues: They identify existing problems or potential concerns within the property. This could range from minor issues like a leaky faucet to major concerns such as structural damage or faulty wiring. They document their findings in a detailed report for the buyer or seller. Good home inspectors will include images in their reports also.
Objective Assessment: Home inspectors provide an impartial assessment of the property. They don’t have any vested interest in the sale of the house, which allows them to offer an unbiased evaluation of its condition. Their goal is to provide an accurate overview of the property’s state.
Educating Clients: Inspectors often take the time to explain their findings to their clients. They help buyers understand the condition of the property they’re purchasing and the potential maintenance or repair needs it might have. This knowledge empowers buyers to make informed decisions.
Recommendations and Reports: After the inspection, they create a detailed report outlining their findings. This report includes descriptions of any issues discovered, along with recommendations for repairs or further evaluations. This report is a valuable tool for buyers in negotiating repairs or adjusting the sale price.
New and Old Homes: Home inspectors are important for not just older homes and potential issues, but they are an important part of the new build process as well. Builders are at the mercy of their subcontractors. They are not always able to monitor what is being done. That is why an inspector should always be hired at the different phases of the new build.
Overall, a home inspector acts as a neutral party, providing an expert evaluation of a property’s condition. Their inspection report helps buyers and sellers make informed decisions about the transaction and understand the true state of the property they are dealing with.
Key Qualifications to Look for in an Ohio Home Inspector
When selecting a home inspector in Ohio or any other state, considering certain qualifications is essential to ensure a thorough and reliable inspection. Here are some key qualifications to look for:
State Licensing/Certification: In Ohio, home inspectors are required to have a state license. Their license number and expiration date are required to be on every inspection report. You also want to look for certifications from professional organizations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). These certifications often indicate a certain level of expertise and adherence to industry standards and ethics. The education requirements are also more stringent than those required for state licensing in Ohio.
Experience and Track Record: Look for an inspector with significant experience in the field. Inquire about their background, how many inspections they’ve conducted, and how long they’ve been in business. A seasoned inspector is more likely to have encountered a wide range of issues and can provide a comprehensive assessment.
References and Reviews: Ask for references from friends for inspectors they have used or check online reviews. Positive feedback from previous customers is a good indicator of an inspector’s reliability and professionalism. If you have a good relationship with your realtor, ask them for possible inspectors. In the state of Ohio due to licensing, if an agent gives any names of inspectors, it has to have at least three names on their list.
Sample Reports: Request a sample inspection report to understand the level of detail and clarity you can expect. A well-structured, comprehensive report with clear explanations and images is valuable for understanding the inspection findings. Not all reports are created equal. You want to have the report sections make sense so it is easier to understand. Pictures in the report help locate issues to make it easier for others to come in to evaluate.
Insurance and Liability Coverage: Ensure the inspector carries errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, which provides protection in case they miss something significant during the inspection. General liability insurance is also important in case of any accidents or damages that might occur during the inspection. This is a requirement for licensure in Ohio.
Communication Skills: A good home inspector should be able to communicate effectively. They should be open to answering questions and explaining their findings in a way that’s understandable to you. You should always attend the inspection. The inspector can go into more detail and it is easier to understand with the issue right in front of you. If your inspector does not want you at the inspection, find another.
Systems: A good company will be easy to schedule with. They should have online scheduling for 24/7 access. There should also be someone to answer the phone throughout the day. Many companies use a call center at night to help with issues or scheduling after hours. If it is difficult to get a hold of the inspector to schedule, keep looking. There should be a system or a method to do the inspection. The inspection should take about 3 hours on average and the report should be sent to you that night.
Before hiring an inspector, talk to your friends and see who they used and what their experiences were. Do your due diligence online and look for reviews and comments about the different companies in the area. Realize that the cheapest company is probably not the one you want to go with. A company that is lowering their prices is one that is desperate for business and ultimately might not do as thorough a job as you should have. Selecting a thorough and reputable home inspector is crucial in ensuring a comprehensive assessment of the property you intend to buy or sell.
What to Expect During a Home Inspection in Ohio
During a home inspection in Ohio, here’s what you can generally expect:
Examination of the Property: The inspector will examine the entire property, inside and out. They’ll look at the structural components, roofing, exterior features (such as siding, windows, doors), and the landscape. Basically, the Roof to the Foundation and the major systems in between.
Interior Inspection: Inside the home, they’ll assess various components including the HVAC system, plumbing (pipes, fixtures, water heater), electrical systems (wiring, outlets, circuit breakers), walls, ceilings, floors, insulation, and ventilation.
Appliances and Fixtures: Inspectors typically check major appliances like the stove, dishwasher, and built-in microwaves. They may also test outlets, lights, and other fixtures.
Foundation and Structural Elements: Assessing the foundation for cracks or weaknesses, checking for signs of water damage, and evaluating the overall structural integrity of the house is a crucial part of the inspection.
Documentation and Photography: Inspectors will take notes and photos throughout the inspection process. These will be used to compile a detailed inspection report.
Testing Systems: They may run tests on systems like HVAC, checking for proper functioning and issues. However, they don’t disassemble anything, so they won’t inspect things that can’t be seen without invasive measures.
Explanation and Report: At the end of the inspection, the inspector will provide a summary of their findings. They’ll discuss any issues or concerns they discovered. Typically, you should receive the report later that evening. They’ll deliver a detailed report outlining their findings, including photographs and descriptions of any problems identified.
Ancillaries: During the inspection, there are several other services and tests that inspectors can offer. Radon, mold and air quality testing are some options. If you chose these tests, remember to schedule your inspection as early as possible. Radon for example is a 48 hour test per the state of Ohio. Mold and VOC testing also take a couple of days because of mail time and lab time. WDI or termite inspections are also able to be done and are in fact required for a VA loan. WDI inspections require licensing by the state. Some companies also offer Chimney and Sewer scopes. Make sure that you choose a company that can provide all of the services you need. It makes the scheduling process easier for the sellers.
Remember, a home inspection is a visual evaluation and doesn’t cover every possible aspect of the property. It’s advisable to attend the inspection if possible. This way, you can ask questions and get a firsthand understanding of the home’s condition.
Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector in Ohio
When you call to schedule, ask about the company’s process. How long does it take to get the report? How do they get into the home? Not all companies have ready access to the lockboxes provided by listing agents. How long will it take you to get the report after the inspection is done? If you need ancillary tests, when are the results expected back? Who gets the report when the inspection is completed? In Ohio, ask to make sure that the inspectors are licensed. After the inspection is completed, ask your inspector what the first thing or two is that you should fix and why. Is there anything that is outside the ordinary? Has the company received any awards for their inspections and systems? Is the company part of a franchise or locally owned? A locally owned company has more flexibility in being able to help their clients than one who has to get approval from an office out of state. A large franchise is also less likely to help clients if issues arise down the road. You are just a small piece of the pie in a larger company just based upon numbers and are not as important.
Costs and Fees: Budgeting for a Home Inspection in Ohio
An average price for a home inspection runs about $400. Most companies use square footage as the basis for the price, so larger homes will cost more. You should also budget for any ancillaries as they will be additional fees. Ask prior to scheduling what services are offered and costs. If they do not offer all that you need, continue to look. If they are the cheapest, continue to look. You want a company that is not so desperate for business they lower their prices.