BOUND BROOK, NJ--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) - As existing home sales rose again in January and are outpacing last year's levels, HouseMaster, the nation's oldest home inspection franchisor, is reminding home buyers to protect their investment and employ a professional, licensed and insured home inspector.

Not only can a professional home inspection provide a bill of health for any home, it is particularly vital when the home in question is one of the hundreds of thousands of properties that have sat on the market for months. The large inventory of unsold homes is pushing prices to extremely attractive levels. According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median home price stands at $158,800, the lowest level since April 2002. Yet with those low prices come hidden problems with neglected and vacant properties.

"Education is the key need when buying a property in today's market," said Kathleen Kuhn, President of HouseMaster. "It helps the buyer understand their options, allowing them to get the best house for reduced costs, while helping to avoid making potentially devastating financial mistakes."

On the eve of National Home Inspection Month (April), HouseMaster is encouraging savvy home buyers to do their due diligence, and is providing the following tips for making the most educated decision possible:

  • Inspect the Inspector: Hire only a home inspector with an excellent reputation and credentials. Ask how long the company has been in business, ask about the inspector's specific formal training and ongoing education, and verify that the inspector carries professional liability insurance also known as "Errors & Omissions" (E&O). If the inspector doesn't carry this insurance it could indicate a poor track record or lack of experience.

  • Ask for a sample of a report. Both the credentials of the inspection company and the quality of the final inspection report will be important. A poorly prepared report without pictures or clear, concise details addressing all the various systems and accessible elements of the home is less likely to be taken seriously by a home seller. 

  • Inspect Ancillary Systems. It's hard for home buyers to know what questions to ask, so find out what services the company offers. If the home you are considering has a septic system for example, a professional home inspection company may offer septic system inspections or can coordinate that service for you. Generally, the company will offer you a multiple services discount. The company will also appreciate the convenience of only having to attend one inspection appointment. Other common services offered by home inspectors are termite inspections, mold screening, water testing and radon testing. 

  • Go along on the inspection. Ask the inspection company if it encourages buyers to tag along on the inspection. If the inspector discourages you from going along and asking questions, find another inspector. A home inspection is not simply a laundry list of what is wrong with the home. In addition to documenting issues and needed repairs that may exist, a professional home inspector will also show the new buyer how to operate the various systems in the home and provide tips on improving energy efficiency and maintaining the home in general. And being present during the inspection will make the final written report that much more meaningful. 

For more tips for first-time home buyers and how to use your home inspection as a valuable negotiation toll, please visit

For more information on franchise opportunities with HouseMaster, please visit, call (800) 526-3930 or email

About HouseMaster
Headquartered in Bound Brook, N.J., HouseMaster is the oldest and one of the largest home inspection franchisors in North America. With 371 franchise locations throughout the United States and Canada, HouseMaster is the most respected name in home inspections. For more than 30 years, HouseMaster has built upon a foundation of solid leadership and innovation with a continued focus on delivering the highest quality service experience to their customers and providing HouseMaster franchisees the tools and support necessary to do so. Each HouseMaster franchise is an independently owned and operated business. HouseMaster is a registered trademark of DBR Franchising, LLC.