What Should I Look For?
"I just went with whoever my realtor recommended."
Of course we think home buyers should use a realtor recommendation when choosing their home inspector - we love and trust our realtors! But we also think home buyers should ask for more than one recommendation and feel empowered to do their own research before booking. Here are some things to look for in a home inspector:
Michigan does NOT require home inspectors to be certified. Yes, this means that you could declare yourself a home inspector and start inspecting homes today (scary, right?!).
First, check if your home inspector is certified (there are many certification companies, we like the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)), and a member of the Greater Regional Alliance of Realtors (GRAR). Although neither are required, we believe all home inspectors should be certified (meaning they have passed their training), and a part of the West Michigan real estate network.
Second, check to see if both certifications are listed on their website. While you’re there, note that an easy to navigate and up to date website is also a good indicator of a professional company - one you would want to hire to inspect your home.
A certification and a nice website unfortunately does not always equal good business. Before you make one of the biggest purchases of your life, read the company's reviews!
Both google and social media allow space for reviews - see if past customers have been happy with the company before booking. We believe recent reviews are one of the best ways to determine if you will have a good experience before meeting your home inspector.
background and experience
Finally, check out your home inspector's background. Sadly, we have met home inspectors practicing in Michigan without certification, experience, or relevant background that bad realtors intentionally and frequently use to make a sale go through. Ensure that your home inspector is qualified to help you make an informed decision about your purchase.
Do they have formal education experience? Do they have real estate or property management experience? Do they have construction experience?
Make sure you choose a trusted, qualified, and experienced expert to walk you through your home inspection process.
GRAR recognizes the importance of finding an inspector with a background you can trust. They published a list of questions here they recommend asking an inspector before you hire them.