How to Hire a Qualified Home Inspector

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Hiring the right home inspector is as important as the actual home inspection itself. As with most professions, both qualified and unqualified individuals can claim to be “professionals.” But, what makes the home inspection industry especially vulnerable is it is currently unregulated. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from hiring an unqualified inspector:

Just because your friend down the street recommends his friend, who happens to do home inspections, doesn’t mean you have the most qualified inspector. Ask family, friends, your real estate agent and contractors. Compile a list of several names; then interview them.

Ask your home inspector for his/her qualifications and certification. Also, inquire about Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O), which can protect you if the inspector makes a mistake. Double-check credentials.

Don’t hire inspectors who either perform repairs or refer contractors. Although some states allow this, it could potentially represent a conflict of interest.

Ask for a sample home inspection report. If the inspector can e-mail it, make sure it is more than just a few pages. Lengths of reports do vary; but most range from 20 to 50 pages, highlighting problems.

Ask how long your home inspection will take. Most inspections take at least three hours–some longer. Lack of thoroughness and errors can result in you losing the house.

Find out if your home inspector charges for a re-inspection. Every home has problems—even new ones. In many states, the inspector may verify the repair without charging for a return visit. But in others, some charge for a return trip.

You should attend the home inspection. Even if you can’t be there throughout, try to stay for the last 30 minutes. Then, ask questions about noted problems—which are major and which are minor.


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