A home inspection is an integral part of a residential purchase and the inspector should be carefully chosen based on the following criteria:
- How much experience does your inspector have? As in many fields, experience is a sign of knowledge. Home inspection is a complex process that requires extensive field experience—an apprenticeship is often considered 500-1000 home inspections. Look for an inspector with at least three years of field experience.
- Is your inspector affiliated with state or national associations? Often, the only professional regulations in the home inspection field are those designated by the National Association of Home Inspectors, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and comparable state organizations. Inspectors who belong to these organizations are required to adhere to strict standards of practice and receive continuing education.
- Does your inspection possess building code certification? While code compliance is not the focus of a home inspection, an inspector with building code certification has the knowledge to identify problems that have an origin in code-related standards. Certification is often a requirement for municipal building inspectors.
- Does your inspector carry Errors & Omissions insurance? A sign of an inspector with accountability is one who carries insurance for an erroneous inspection. Uncovered faults in a home can range from minor to catastrophic. Carrying insurance is a sign that your inspector takes his or her job seriously and offers protection to the consumer. There are two types of E & O insurance, with the best coverage being offered by a ‘per occurrence’ policy where the buyer will still be covered in the event that the home inspector goes out of business. The second type is called ‘claims made’ and may only be effective on the date of the inspection.
- Will your inspector provide a sample report? Request a previous report prior to see how the inspector organizes the information. A good home inspection report should be exhaustive and precise yet easy to understand for the average reader. It should focus on pertinent property information not maintenance recommendations. Quality reports often include a summary of important defects along with extensive evaluation.
- What will be the cost of inspection? Home inspection prices are determined by a number of variables such as the size and location of the home, however a typical home inspection will usually be around $300 for an average sized home. Approach very low cost inspections with caution as an accurate home inspection can be one of the most important purchases you make. Costly mistakes for the home buyer can result from a bargain report performed by an inexperienced inspector.