Is the inspector properly licensed and certified?
Make sure the inspector is state-licensed (if required in your state) and/or certified by an appropriate national professional association, such as the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).
Does the company carry General Liability (GL) and Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance?
Appropriate risk insurance protects businesses, clients, and property owners. Do not assume that the inspector has the appropriate insurance, as some inspectors may not carry insurance. Check the inspection company’s insurance status before signing a contract with them.
How and when are the inspection reports delivered?
Inspection reports should be clear, concise, easy-to-read and available quickly. You’ll want to have a clear understanding of the condition of the home prior to the expiration of the contingency period of your real estate contract. Ask whether they deliver the reports on site or via e-mail soon after the inspection.
Does the report provide a summary of defective items and pictures?The report should provide a summary of defective items &/or concerns about the property (as often they are not “defects” but possible items to be addressed as a preventative measure, etc). This “summary ” allows you to easily see what functional &/or safety concerns exist with the property. Additionally, digital cameras allow inspectors to effectively illustrate their reports, especially items that are difficult to describe. No other item has so positively affected communication of reports in recent years as the digital camera!
What is the inspector’s experience and background?
Inspectors should have attended an in-depth training course to learn how to perform home inspections. They should also have an excellent experience base and ideally be part of an organization with a strong continuing education program. Find out how long the inspection company has been in business, and what education, certifications, and experience the home inspector that will be conducting your inspection has.
Can you order more than one inspection at the same time?
Check to see if the inspection company can save you time by offering multiple types of inspections on the same day, such as radon, mold, and termite inspections.
Is the fee too high? Is the fee too low?
Some inspectors will attempt to compete based on price, particularly if they are new to the inspection business. Although price is a concern, all inspectors are not “created equal.” The $25, $50, or even $100 price differential to hire the “right” inspection company is minimal compared to the thousands of dollars it could cost you if you hire the wrong inspection company. Be careful though - pricing is not a true indicator as to the competency of the inspector, so do not make the assumption that an inspector is under-qualified because they have a more competitive price than another, or that an inspector is “better” because they charge more.
Does the company encourage you to attend the inspection?
Attending the inspection is a great opportunity for you to learn first-hand what is included in the inspection and about the systems and components in the house you are purchasing. Be wary of inspectors that do not include you in the inspection process.
Is it a well-established inspection company?
Well-established inspection companies have more availability for inspections, especially for those needed immediately. Additionally, they have the resources to provide ongoing training to their inspectors, and comprehensive post-inspection customer service to you.