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Choosing a Home Inspector

Male home inspector

If you’re purchasing an investment property that you plan to renovate and resell, it’s important that you understand the full extent of the necessary repairs before the sale is final, so that you can feel confident that you’ll receive a worthwhile return on your investment. This requires you to choose a thorough, knowledgeable inspector prior to your purchase. Read on to learn more about looking for the right home inspector, and contact a seasoned California real estate investment attorney for help with legal issues in your purchase and sale.

Seek out recommendations from experienced investors

California is one of several states that does not require its home inspectors to obtain a license. Buyers should instead rely on recommendations from fellow seasoned real estate investors to find a good choice, as well as sites like Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, or the Better Business Bureau to find a qualified choice. While it isn’t an official license, ask any inspectors you’re considering whether they are a certified member of the California Real Estate Inspection Association, and if they’ve completed any other coursework relevant to home inspections.

Don’t rely only on your real estate agent’s recommendation

If you’re working with a real estate agent, they will likely have one or two home inspectors that they regularly recommend to their clients. However, if an agent is concerned about a sale going through, they may recommend an inspector whom they know to be less exacting or thorough. After all, an inspection report that uncovers numerous hidden problems could put the kibosh on the sale—and on the agent’s commission.

Higher-risk purchases may call for a more knowledgeable inspector

In some cases, a standard home inspection may not provide enough assurance that the home you’re interested in purchasing is a sound investment. For example, you may have concerns about the structural integrity of the home, or whether there is any risk of mudslide damage in the event of a storm. In these cases, it may be worthwhile to find a home inspector who is also an architect or engineer. These inspectors may charge a premium for their services, but this will be a premium worth paying if they learn of a major issue that a standard inspection would not uncover.

Find out what the inspector will include on a standard inspection, and what happens if they miss a major problem

Ask a potential inspector to provide a list of what they will and won’t include in their inspection based on what you feel might be an issue in the home you’re considering. If the list does not include an area of particular concern to you, ask whether it’s an item you can have included for an additional fee, or if you should hire a specialist in that area (such as a plumber, roofer, or electrician) for that inspection. Additionally, review the inspector’s contract carefully to learn what liability the inspector accepts, should they miss a major issue with the property.

Select an inspector that has E & O Insurance

E & O insurance stands for “errors and omissions” insurance. It is a type of insurance that a home inspector can purchase that provides inspectors and their employees with insurance covering customer claims arising from the inspector’s acts, errors and omissions made during their inspection of the property and in their preparation of the subsequent report. If an inspector makes an error or omission in the performance of duties, there is an insurance company behind the inspector to cover a viable claim from a property buyer. An inspector without E & O insurance has no such backing, and the property buyer may encounter trouble collecting on any damage claim against the inspector. When selecting any professional to provide professional services, one should always ask if they have E & O insurance.

If you’re a real estate investor who is facing legal questions about a property sale or purchase in Southern California, get reliable, professional guidance by contacting the experienced and knowledgeable San Diego real estate lawyer Jon Alan Enochs at 619-421-3956.

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