What basis should I use to choose a home inspector?
- Make sure your home inspector meets the requirements of all laws and regulations in your state or province. Some areas have regulations that home inspectors must be licensed which includes passing a certification exam and continuing education.
- Your home inspector should have proper training or experience. There are several training companies that provide hands-on training and many inspectors have been in the building trades for several years and have considerable knowledge of home construction.
- Ask if the inspector is a member of a professional Home Inspection organization. If your state or province does not require a license for home inspectors, it is important that the home inspector belongs to an association and abide by a set of standard practices and code of ethics that require professionalism in the industry. National home inspector organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), NACHI (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors), National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI), and similar state or province level organizations require their members to adhere to strict standards of practice and continuing education.
- Ideally, he should be referred by someone other than your real estate agent. The best home inspectors are often labeled by some agents as "Deal Breakers." Someone with this reputation is likely to provide a comprehensive home inspection.
What else can I ask a home inspector to help me make a decision?
- What type of report do you deliver? A home inspection should include a report that describes what was inspected and the condition of each inspected item. The best reports are created using home inspection software that includes pictures and comments specific to your home.
- When and how do you deliver the report? Inspectors using home inspection software can often deliver the report on site or at least deliver the report thru the internet for quicker delivery. Internet report delivery is often important for out of town clients instead of messy faxes or costly overnight shipping.
- Can I see a sample home inspection report? Request a copy of a sample report to make sure it is detailed and easily understood. If you cannot understand the report or if you lose interest in reading the ton of extra, useless information some reports contain you probably will not read your own report and maybe miss important information.
Who is the cheapest? Inspectors all look at the same things right?
Every inspector is different and comes with strong points and weak points. You may save $50 by choosing a cheaper inspector and he could miss $1,000 in problems. Usually, the best inspectors are not the cheapest. If you want to save money, possibly thousands, then don't choose the cheapest inspector. A thorough and experienced home inspector is the best route to take.
Some offer to give me a big book of general information that is included in the home inspection?
What you are after is a thorough home inspection with content about your home, not bulk or info that may not even apply to your home. There are many sources for general information such as "Ortho's Home Encyclopedia" that you can pick up at any home improvement store. Also there are many online "how to" or "do it yourself" websites. Choose a home inspector based on his ability. Substance should be measured in quality of content, not weight.