The following is a list of questions that the prudent consumer should ask in making this determination:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Is the company willing to provide references?
- Does the company carry all of the necessary insurances (workman’s compensation, general liability, and E&O insurance) to compensate you if the inspector misses something during the inspection or damages the property?
- What are the inspector’s credentials and background? Inspectors should have attended an in depth training course to learn how to perform home inspections, should be members of professional organizations such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), and should have a general knowledge background in construction or engineering prior to becoming a professional home inspector. To become a professional home inspector one must successfully complete intense written examinations, complete a minimum of 250 home inspections that comply with ASHI or NAHI Standards of Practice, and have their inspection reports reviewed to ensure the consumer is properly informed of the conditions of the property.
- Will the inspector be available for consultation after the inspection? A professional inspector will be prepared to assist you post inspection. This will enable you to ask questions that you may not have had during the course of the inspection period.
- Is your attendance encouraged during the inspection? Attending a home inspection is a great opportunity for the buyer to learn first hand about all the systems and components of the house that they are purchasing.
- How are the reports delivered? Inspection reports should be clear, concise and easy to read. Typically, inspectors will deliver inspection reports with photos same day via email. This eliminates the laborious task of reading poor handwriting and the color photos provide a clear understanding of the need for repair or corrective action.
- Does the inspection report provide a summary of the defects that need to be addressed? A summary page allows you to easily see what functional problems exist with the property prior to the final negotiations with the seller.
- Is the fee too high? Too low? Although price is always a consideration, it should never be the primary factor in selecting a professional home inspector. The $25, $50, or $100 extra to hire the “right” inspection company and inspector is minimal compared to the thousands it could cost you by hiring the “wrong” inspection company.