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5 Ways To Know If Your Building Inspector Is Licensed

posted by Chris Valentine

Buying a property is one of the largest investments a person will ever make, but purchasing that dream home can quickly become a nightmare if the property isn’t properly inspected. Make sure you protect yourself with the help of a knowledgeable and licensed building inspector who will give a fair assessment. An incorrect, inaccurate, or incompetent inspection can be the cause of tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. Worse yet, you have little legal recourse once the paperwork has been signed and your new home is your responsibility. MEL Building Inspections is there to help you avoid the pitfalls and find a properly certified and experienced building inspector.

How do you know if an inspector is licensed, or a fly-by-night operation that will disappear without a trace? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1)Make sure the inspector does not work for the seller or a realtor

Objectivity is key when choosing a building inspector. Many inspectors work for realty companies who have earned trust and loyalty, and even subconsciously, an inspector may be more likely to overlook small problems or cut corners. Don’t let someone else’s gain become your loss in the long-term. Choose an inspector whose judgment is not likely to be clouded by either the buyer or seller. Taking the time to do a simple check on your inspector will give you a good deal of peace of mind, because it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure an inspector has the proper license and insurance.

2)Ask to see the license before the work begins

Many people are afraid to ask to see the credentials of the people they are considering paying for important work, and this type of politeness can end up being a costly mistake. It is not a lie for an inspector to claim to be licensed, but you may learn too late that the license is restricted to carpentry, painting, or other areas that offer a basic license. The more sophisticated the license, the more your building inspector has received extensive training and knowledge in the many different aspects of home construction. If no one has vetted the inspector for you, take the time to do it yourself.

3)Get a few referrals from satisfied customers

In industries that are not always tightly regulated, reputation counts for a lot, so find out who exactly you’re trusting to evaluate your future dwelling. Ask for references, or better yet, use your own personal contacts to ask if anyone has experience with the inspector or service you’ve chosen. Take the time to do your own research on the Internet. More and more websites are created these days to rate and review professionals in the construction industry, so if the inspector has a spotty record, you may be able to unearth the warning signs in no time. Remember, it pays to do your homework before committing your time and money.

4)Choose an inspector with experience

Experience counts for a good deal, and even if your building inspector has all the proper paperwork, finding out he’s only been on the job for six months is a risky proposition. Inexperience and inattentiveness to detail can lead to costly mistakes and glossing over issues that will become your burden should you choose to buy the house. In addition to asking to see licenses and references, pay attention to the dates. Make sure that they line up with what the inspector tells you when you ask about previous experience. If all of this seems a bit overwhelming, it may be worthwhile to hire from a company that has rigorous licensing and job experience prerequisites. Let others do the extra work for you, and find out everything you need to know in one stop.

5)Make sure your building inspector has the proper insurance

Like almost everyone employed in fields like contracting and real estate, building inspectors are required to have insurance. Whether you choose an independent contractor or find it easier to work with a reputable company, make sure both the inspector and the company have insurance. In addition, pay attention to the small details. Is the insurance current? Is it enough to cover anything such as structural damage during a routine inspection? Especially if you’re the one selling the property, you’ll want to make certain that the financial liability of an unexpected disaster doesn’t land on your shoulders.

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