Finding a dependable resource for real estate inspections is very important. Knowing what to look for in a seasoned inspector takes EXPERIENCE, or having good networking skills. I have both. Still, it is often difficult to choose a good pest inspector. There are about a dozen in our county at this time. You can consult the Internet, of course, and be sure to read the reviews. However, I have found that my personal experience with inspectors actually is more valuable in finding one. After all these years of witnessing the good and the poor inspectors at work, I know what to look for in a good one.
First, there are certifications for inspectors. Ask the inspector if they have any. Does he have anything negative online about his business practices? ASK your friends, but don’t always count on them to know. You may not use a pest inspector but once or twice in a lifetime. Realtors® like me see them on every single transaction! I suggest my sellers have regular pest inspections every three to five years to catch anything that might be on going before it becomes a disaster, but most don’t!
I have several pest companies that are my “go to pest guys”. I have a favorite. They know who they are. You will NOT. I believe in giving my clients the choice to find one they can trust. I will give you three names! All inspections of the pest nature must be included in any disclosure package when you purchase a home, even if you do NOT have a Realtor® involved. So the pest report goes with the property.
The pest inspectors I most appreciate are the ones that take their time! An inspection should include a thorough look around the building, checking top to bottom on the outside. Inside, any area where there is water available like laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and even garage sink areas. Near hose bibs and around the eaves where rain gutters might have been leaking is another place I expect them to inspect.
My inspectors go on the roof! There are many wooden chimney surrounds that have damage that is hard to see from ground level. If you don’t go up there, you can’t see it! So ASK if they are on ladders, in attics, and on rooftops! I use that as a test myself. Some are able to assess well from ground level, but I have not had a positive experience with those people. They miss things that the buyer then might have to repair later. This is not my way to host an inspection.
Be careful! Ask questions. Of course, you want someone who can get right out to see the property, but if you must wait a week or so, be patient because that inspector being very busy could be that he is very well regarded locally and as a result is backed up on the calendar!
Be there if you can! You are paying them to show up, do an inspection, and report on it. Pay attention, too. Ask them to show you the issues personally, not just put an X on a map of your home. Mark the area with chalk so your contractor can find it if he is there when you are not!
Finally, I ask for an estimated bid for any repairs. The inspection price is between $140 and $175 at this time, but repairs for wood and treatment of infestation can be costly. If they don’t/won’t provide an estimated repair bid, I move on. I like to know what they would charge. The pest companies do charge a premium for repair work, and they hire their own people. They have higher costs to repairs than a general contractor might have, so it pays to shop around for a company that has affordable and handy people that are available.
I hope this has been helpful. The easier way to find a proper inspector is to call your favorite Realtor® (me of course) so I can give you my “concierge list” of my preferred providers. This list is ever changing. If I find a good one that is not on my list, or if you do, I am always shifting my providers to the best I can find. BUT, if you have anyone who didn’t do a good job, please also complain to me about it. I won’t necessarily remove them, but I will keep an ear out for a second complaint. If I get two, they are off the list!
Call me, Debbie St. John, if you need more information!