Finding a Seattle Home Inspector
When one is trying to find a good Seattle Home Inspector, how should one go about it?
There are literally hundreds of home inspectors in the Seattle area. In fact a huge percentage of the 600 plus inspectors in the State of Washington are located in King County and the Metropolitan Seattle area.
All will be licensed by the State of Washington and they should also be licensed by the WSDA as a Licensed Structural Pest Inspector. Without this second license, the home inspector you choose would be unable to identify and/or legally prevented from reporting on wood destroying insects that are routinely found in Washington State homes.
Here are some questions you might ask a prospective Seattle Home Inspector (and you should interview several to see which one will be a good fit for you):
- Do you use a computer generated report with pictures? Pick another inspector if the answer to this is “no.” There is almost no chance that you will be happy with what you have in the form of a report of the property condition if it is a handwritten or check list type report.
- Can I follow you around during the inspection and ask questions? The answer to this question should be a “for sure, yes! Please do.” This is after all, your chance to learn about your new home.
- Do you deliver your report on site? If the answer to this question is “yes” think long and hard about choosing this inspector. These types of inspections often result in addenda to the report later on and are frequently mediocre in detail.
- How much will the inspection cost? While this seems like a logical question, keep in mind that the concept of “you get what you pay for” was never truer than it is with home inspectors. Even a few hundred dollars one way or the other should not be a critical part of one of the biggest purchase of a lifetime.
- How long will the inspection take? This is a very difficult question to answer without knowing a great deal about the house. The amount of time spent on the inspection often correlates with the length of the inspection report—but not always. A good rule of thumb is that for a 2000 sq ft house with a crawl space, an attic, a two car attached garage and 2-1/2 baths, is likely to take between 3-1/2 hours and 4-1/2 hours. Much less than this or more than this should be a red flag. Of course the inspector that gives you some idea and then qualifies it with, “they take whatever they take,” is likely going to be at the inspection with no pressure to get to the next inspection. There are a great many things that can impact the house both in terms of taking less time than average or more time than average. Is the home vacant or is it packed with stuff and the seller is present? Is the house new or 100 years old? How many questions do you as the buyer want answered? Are there multiple crawl spaces or HVAC equipment? Leaving room for all of these things is why the inspection “will take as long as it takes.”
- How often do you get calls to explain what the report says? The answer to this question should be “rarely,” but the inspector should express a willingness to answer any questions any time. The basic point of this question is that if the inspector has to explain a lot of what the report says later on, they perhaps should have written the report more clearly to begin with.
Besides these questions you will want to ask yourself what you want when you are all done. In other words, the Inspection Report. Ask the prospective home inspector to show you a sample report that will give you an idea of what you will have when the Inspection process is all over.
Does the report have the level of detail you are looking for and is it worded such that you can understand it? Is it worded so that the people that are going to be hired to make repairs can understand it? Is it worded so that your real estate agent can understand it?
Is the report tailored to be specific to your house or is a full of pages of “stuff” that has nothing to do with the house?
If the prospective inspector does not have sample reports on their website or does not even have a website—perhaps it is time to consider a different inspector. This is the 21st Century after all.
Being State licensed, your Seattle Home Inspector is required to do continuing education, but is the inspector also a member of one of the recognized, national Home Inspector Associations such as ASHI?
It is also a great idea to get a sense of the prospective Seattle Home Inspector’s background—what did they bring with them to the field of home inspection? While not always the case, generally speaking, inspectors that have come to Home Inspections from the trades or who otherwise have considerable building experience, often have make the smoothest transition to becoming home inspectors.
Lastly, and perhaps most important, can you talk to the inspector in a way that you can get a sense that you will be taken care of and that they will be a good fit for what you want in terms of a home inspection.
So these are a few thoughts to consider when you are looking for a Seattle Home Inspector. It is by no means an easy process but if you are diligent, you are more likely to find a Seattle area Home Inspector that will be a good fit for you.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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