Any real estate investor knows a good home inspector is truly worth their weight in gold. They understand homes the way a craftsman does, and can easily translate that knowledge into real dollars and cents, the language of the real estate investor. If you want to build a real estate portfolio, forming a solid working relationship with a good home inspector is one of the most important things you can do.

Spending a little extra for a real expert is worth it

Because inspection is often required, there are a lot of companies out there offering the bare-minimum level of inspection, just so buyers and sellers can check the box. But a highly skilled inspector is more than worth the negligible difference in price.

First, they truly leave no stone unturned, meaning you can know for sure you're not sinking your money into a renovation pit. Think about just the roof as an example. Not only will a good home inspector tell you whether or not your roof is in good shape, they can also give you an idea of how long until it needs to be replaced. And if it needs to be replaced sooner than you would like, you now have leverage to negotiate with the seller on the sales price. In scenarios like this, which are quite common, the home inspection more than pays for itself!

Additionally, a good home inspector notices issues that might be invisible to others. They can detect mold in the home—even when it's inside the walls. They can tell you if there's rot anywhere in the house, even if it's beneath tile or carpet. They can see any signs of former pest issues, and on and on. They’re also invaluable when it comes to one of the biggest issues in a home: Ruined or deteriorating foundations, which can be difficult for the amateur to diagnose.

A good inspection provides peace of mind, and can potentially save you from making a huge mistake

The bottom line is, a good inspector can keep you from buying the wrong property. If worst comes to worst, a home inspector can save you—even at the eleventh hour—from making a grave mistake.

In most cases, the sales contract on your property will have a clause giving you the right to have the home inspected after the initial sale has been agreed upon, and then to pull out of the contract without any fee whatsoever should the inspector discover any deal-breaking problems. You don’t want to be locked into a property that you’re always going to regret pulling the trigger on.

The home inspection process provides invaluable knowledge to a new real estate investor

A thorough home inspector will walk you through the home, leaving no stone unturned, explaining what they're seeing, noting any minor issues, and allowing you to ask questions as they come up. For a new real estate investor, almost nothing could be more valuable.

Suck up all that information and try to learn to see homes like the inspector does! You won’t become an expert overnight, but you’ll develop a more critical eye for both the telltale signs of depreciation and the potential for appreciation you might not have seen before.

A good home inspector can also help you understand in real-world terms what the yearly maintenance requirements on your home will look like, and point out any existing code violations that might cost you additional money down the line.

Additionally, keep in mind that home inspectors know the area. Their job basically requires them to be experts on the houses in their market. As a real estate investor, this is a gold mine. You can gain an understanding of the shape of your property compared to surrounding properties, and whether it's a good value or not.

And, if you have a good relationship with the inspector, you can glean even more information: Which homes seem to sell and which do not, the average costs for renovation, painting, roofing and so on in the area, and even which contractors you can trust. All of this makes this transaction a mutually beneficial relationship, to be sure.

Hang onto a good home inspector

If you're getting into real estate as an investment, your local, reputable home inspector is your new best friend. They'll keep you on a profitable path, making sure you spend your money wisely, heading you off from unwise investments and providing endless wisdom on what to look for in a prospective investment.