Having a home inspection in Jacksonville FL, before purchasing a property is crucial. A thorough inspection helps you understand the true condition of the home and identify any potential issues. However, finding a qualified, skilled home inspector is key to getting an accurate assessment. Here’s what to look for when researching home inspectors in the Jacksonville area:
Seek Licensed Inspectors
Florida requires home inspectors to be licensed by the state. Confirm inspectors have an active license in good standing with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Licensed inspectors have passed exams, and background checks, and meet experience requirements. Check for complaints against the licensee and any disciplinary history.
Look for ASHI Certification
The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) provides certification recognized nationally in the industry. ASHI certification requires inspectors to pass rigorous exams, perform over 250 paid inspections, and adhere to high standards for honesty, objectivity, and professionalism. Choosing an ASHI-certified inspector adds an extra layer of quality assurance.
Interview Several Options
Don’t go with the first inspector you come across. Interview at least three inspectors to compare expertise, inspection process, reporting thoroughness, and pricing. Get a feel for their knowledge of Jacksonville housing stock and ability to explain inspection findings in a way you understand. Make sure personalities mesh since you’ll interact throughout the inspection.
Ask About Experience
Look for an inspector with extensive experience in the Jacksonville market. Longevity inspecting local homes gives them an in-depth understanding of regional construction standards, codes, soil conditions, and common issues. Advanced equipment, training, and specializations are also good signs of an experienced inspector.
Ask inspectors for references from past clients in the Jacksonville area. Reach out to references with questions about their satisfaction level, inspector’s knowledge, reporting detail, and benefits of the inspection. Also, read through online reviews for honest feedback on inspectors’ customer service, responsiveness, and inspection quality.
Verify Proper Insurance
Reputable home inspectors carry insurance packages including general liability, errors and omissions, worker’s compensation, and automobile coverage. This protects you from liability in the rare case of inspector injury on your property or mistakes leading to undetected issues. Make sure policies are adequate and active.
Look for Good Communication Skills
The value of your home inspection depends on clear communication of findings. Make sure your chosen inspector is capable of explaining technical issues in plain terms. They should walk the property with you during the inspection to point out problem areas and discuss concerns. Expect a detailed inspection report with supporting photos and repair recommendations.
Consider Specialty Inspections
For older Jacksonville homes, additional specialty inspections may be prudent for:
- Termite damage
- Pool/spa safety
- Lead paint risks
- Mold testing
- Asbestos checks
Your general inspector can advise which extra inspections make sense for your particular home.
Understand What’s Excluded
Home inspections have limitations – they don’t assess absolutely everything. Be aware of typical exclusions like low-voltage wiring for phone/cable, detached buildings, buried drainage pipes, or chimney flue conditions. Home warranty companies also exclude many inspection items. Discuss exclusions upfront so there are no surprises later.
Prepare Properly for Inspection
Your preparations greatly impact inspection accuracy:
- Declutter rooms and clear access to systems
- Have all utilities turned on
- Store pets securely away from inspectors
- Gather appliance manuals and repair records
- Pre-inspection prep allows inspectors to access and assess all areas appropriately.
Know What to Expect with Inspection
A standard home inspection examines interior and exterior physical conditions to evaluate the property’s structural soundness. Inspectors check major home systems including:
- Roof, attic, exterior and drainage
- Interior plumbing, electrical, HVAC
- Walls, floors, windows, doors, ceilings
- Built-in appliances, garages, fireplaces
Inspectors look for issues like leaks, damage, improper modifications, safety hazards, code violations, and general wear and tear.
The inspection process takes 2-3 hours for most single-family homes. The inspector will begin outside, and then progress through interior rooms, attic, crawlspaces, and foundation. Be present during the inspection to follow along and ask questions.
Understand the Inspection Report
You’ll receive a detailed inspection report documenting issues found, accompanied by supporting photographs. Expect descriptions, locations, and repair recommendations for each concern along with an overall condition summary.
Some common Jacksonville inspection findings include roof aging, plumbing leaks, foundation cracks, drainage problems, outdated electrical panels, HVAC wear and tear, window/door seals needing replacement, and termite damage. Read more.
The inspection report serves as an objective guide to evaluate the home’s condition. Use it to request repairs from sellers, budget for upcoming maintenance needs, and inform your buying decision.
Choosing the right home inspector provides an insightful valuation of Jacksonville properties and protects your investment. Do your research to find an inspector who checks all the boxes – licensed, certified, experienced, insured, communicative, and prepared for a thorough inspection. Safeguard your new home purchase with a quality inspection.