Choosing a Professional Home Inspector

Choosing a home inspector can be daunting. After all, a home inspection is one of the best protections a home buyer has in knowing that their biggest investment is a solid one. It can also sometimes play into negotiations of a purchase.

Dan Steward, the president of Pillar To Post Home Inspections ( has some great advice on how to choose the best home inspector professional. In a recent article published by RisMedia, Steward reports, “There are approximately 30,000 home inspectors nationwide today. Only about half of the states require any kind of certification or licensing for home inspectors”. So how do you who to choose?

Steward offers some ways you can protect yourself from hiring an unqualified inspector:

• Do your own research. Ask potential inspectors for their qualifications, professional affiliations and certifications. Professional association affiliations can include membership in the National Association of Home Inspectors and American Society of Home Inspectors. Members of both of these organizations are committed to standards of practices and codes of ethics.

• Inquire about insurance. Professional home inspectors carry Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O), which can protect your client if the inspector makes a mistake. Home inspectors should also carry commercial general liability insurance.

• Do not 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. A good report will clearly state the problem, explain the significance and recommend a course of action. Many inspectors also offer home maintenance guides that contain information about how a home works, how to properly maintain it, repair cost estimates, seasonal maintenance checklists and various ways to save energy.

• Ask home inspectors about the technology used during the inspection. Look for inspectors who use computers and take photos during inspections and incorporate those photos into the report.

• A professional home inspector will tag all accessible shut-offs within the home. This is a great added value for homeowners unfamiliar with the inner workings of a home.

• Ask how long the home inspection will take. Most inspections take at least three hours, some longer, depending on the size of the house and the nature of the inspection. Plan to stay for the duration and to shadow the inspector and ask questions about noted problems. Many things uncovered in home inspections are easy fixes and should not lead to a deal falling through.

• Know when to call in an expert. If you’re looking at a home with a pool, make sure the inspector has experience with pools. Additionally, if you’re concerned about mold, radon or lead paint, make sure the home inspector has the ability to do the proper testing.


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