How To Choose A Competent Home Inspector

By: Robert L. Klewitz, M.S.C.E., P.E.

Choosing a competent home inspector requires some research and the need to ask the proper questions. There is no licensing or regulation of home inspectors in most states, including Washington State. Therefore, virtually anyone can become a home inspector, regardless of their qualifications. This makes it extremely important to check on and interview potential home inspectors that you are considering hiring.

Most people's first question when calling professional inspectors is about price. However, this is one of the least important considerations when choosing an inspector because, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. When you are making one of the largest investments in your life, by buying a home, you deserve to get the best inspector possible. The following is a list of recommended questions to ask, and things to look for, when choosing a professional home inspector (these questions are listed in general order of importance):

1. How many home inspections has he performed? How long has he been in the full-time home inspection business?
2. Is the inspector that is to do your inspection a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)? If not, is he a candidate for membership? What is his ASHI membership number? ASHI is the oldest, and is considered the preeminent, professional organization for home inspectors in the United States and Canada. For more information about ASHI and a list of certified ASHI members call (800) 273-ASHI (2744).
3. What type of training and background, specifically with regard to home inspections, does he have? Is he a state licensed structural pest control inspector? (This is required in Washington State for ALL home inspectors.)
4. What areas/components of the house will he inspect?
5. How long does it usually take him to perform the inspection?
6. Can you accompany him during the entire inspection? A good inspector will not only allow this, but will highly encourage it.
7. What type of inspection equipment does he use during the inspection to assist him?
8. What type and length of written report will he provide you? Does the report comply with the ASHI Standards of Practice?
9. How long after the inspection will you receive the written report?
10. Will he provide estimated cost of repairs for problems that he discovers?
11. Will he provide references of clients and/or real estate professionals that he has worked with in the recent past?
12. How much will the inspection cost?

By taking the time to carefully evaluate and compare the credentials and quality of care that an inspector or inspection company can provide you, you will be ensured that you will get the most competent, professional service possible. This will provide you confidence and peace of mind that your decision about one of the biggest investments of your life is an informed and wise one.


Copyright 2005, 2006 RLK and Associates