Buyer Dilemma: Should I Hire My Own Home Inspector?

Q. I’m about to make an offer on a home, and I know I need to have a home inspection. My friend told me to find my own inspector rather than the home inspector recommended by my real estate agent. Should I use the home inspector my agent recommends? How would I find another home inspector?

A. First off, congratulations on finding a home you love!

I’m also happy to hear you plan to have a home inspection—you shouldn’t buy a home without a qualified home inspector checking it out.

Most of us only buy and sell a handful of homes in our lifetime, so we rely heavily on the expertise of professionals who are involved with real estate on a daily basis.

Your agent has probably worked with multiple home inspectors and knows which ones do a thorough, accurate and reliable job. That said, you’re never obligated to work with someone your agent recommends.

Your friend’s concern might be the result of their negative experience with an agent or a home inspector. Or perhaps they’re concerned that your agent could benefit by recommending a particular inspector.

There are two ways to offset that possibility.

First and foremost, you need to hire an agent you trust. You want someone who’s always working in your best interest. Second, after you receive a recommendation, look up reviews and references on the home inspector. Home inspectors are also usually licensed, so depending on where you live you might be able to check on the inspector’s license.

Even if you choose to work with the home inspector suggested by your agent, shop around a bit to make sure you’re hiring a well-respected inspector who charges a reasonable fee …

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