Purchasing a home is likely one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. That’s why having a professional home inspection before closing on a property is so important. A thorough home inspection conducted by a qualified Orange County home inspector can potentially save you thousands of dollars down the road by identifying issues early.
When looking for the right home inspector, you want someone experienced, knowledgeable, and detail-oriented. Here are some tips and tricks for choosing a top-notch Orange County home inspection company:
Do Your Research
Don’t just go with the first home inspector you find online or who is recommended by your real estate agent. Take the time to research home inspection companies operating in your area. Look for inspectors who are licensed in Orange County and have plenty of positive reviews. Professional affiliations like membership in the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) are also good signs.
Online reviews can provide insight into an inspector’s customer service, thoroughness, and overall inspection quality. Pay attention to reviews that highlight specifics like the inspector taking the time to explain issues or providing a very detailed inspection report.
Ask About Their Experience
Choose an inspector who has extensive experience specifically with Orange County homes. They should have in-depth knowledge of building codes and common issues found in local homes of different eras and architectural styles. For example, a 1960s ranch style house may be prone to different problems than a 1990s two-story.
Ask about the types of homes they typically inspect and how long they’ve been working in the county. Look for an inspector with 5+ years of local experience. They should also perform hundreds of inspections per year to stay up-to-date on the latest methods and technologies.
Verify Licensing and Certifications
In California, home inspectors must be licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate. Check that the inspector’s license is current and active with no disciplinary actions on their record.
Professionals with certifications from organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) have demonstrated continuing education and thorough technical inspection knowledge. These credentials are reassuring signs of the inspector’s qualifications.
Understand Their Inspection Process
A standard Orange County home inspection generally takes 2-3 hours to complete and covers major systems like the roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and more. The exact inspection process can vary, so ask what the inspector will examine and if they offer additional services like sewer line video inspections or mold testing.
Find out if the inspector provides thermal imaging as part of the inspection to check for hidden moisture issues. Also, ask about how soon you get the full detailed inspection report after the inspection is completed.
Request Sample Reports
High quality, well-written home inspection reports are just as important as the actual inspection. Reports should provide a clear overview of issues found, include supporting photos, and distinguish between minor concerns and major defects that require repair.
Ask inspectors if they can provide sample reports so you can preview their reporting style. A sample report also gives you a better idea of what to expect from the home inspection results. Any inspector who is confident in their inspection skills and reporting should be willing to provide samples.
Home inspection rates can range from around $300 on the low end to over $500 for larger homes or more involved inspections. Keep in mind that lower fees don’t necessarily mean better value. Paying more for a highly experienced inspector is often worth it in the long run.
Get quotes from 3-5 home inspection companies in Orange County. Compare their pricing, years of experience, certifications, services offered, and report quality to find the best value based on your home’s specifics. Beware of costs that seem too low and exceedingly high price quotes.
Consider Their Customer Service
Beyond technical expertise, you want an inspector who is responsive, pays attention to detail, answers all your questions, and is focused on providing an excellent customer experience.
Do they take the time to explain issues and walk you through the home during the inspection? Are past customers satisfied with their communication and professionalism? The inspector’s customer service skills say a lot about the overall quality you can expect.
Ask About Their Guarantee
Many home inspectors offer guarantees that allow you to request a return visit or partial inspection fee refund if you’re unsatisfied with the original inspection. Choose an inspector who stands behind their work with a satisfaction guarantee.
Read the Inspection Agreement
Before scheduling the inspection, ask for a copy of the inspector’s service agreement and read it carefully. It should clearly outline what’s covered and not covered in the inspection, any disclaimers and liability limits, and other terms and conditions. Make sure you understand and agree to all provisions before signing.
Trust Your Instincts
If an inspector seems pushy, doesn’t answer your questions clearly, or you simply don’t feel comfortable with them, keep looking. You want someone who takes the time to address all your concerns, stays objective about the home’s condition, and communicates in a professional manner. Go with your gut instinct if something seems off.
Choosing the right home inspector takes a bit of upfront work. Following these tips will help you select a trustworthy pro who will provide maximum value and peace of mind through a comprehensive Orange County home inspection before you purchase your next home.