In our last blog, we discussed “who” should select your home inspector. In this blog, we will discuss “how” to select your home inspector.
There are three main attributes you should consider as you select a home inspector: Commitment, Training/Certifications and Experience.
Every day, it seems that three or four more people in any given geographic area decide to become a “home inspector.” For every full-time home inspector today, there are probably four part-time inspectors who perform this work in addition to their other full-time jobs.
Our advice is to never consider an inspector who does this work part-time. Why? While a full-time home inspector may perform several hundred inspections per year, a part-time inspector may only perform a few dozen each year and doesn’t make the time commitment to perfect his or her craft. In addition, a part-time inspector who also works a full-time job simply doesn’t have the time to stay current with the various code changes.
Question you should ask: Are you full-time or part-time?
In most states, to become a home inspector one only needs to take a course and pay a licensing fee.
Compare this to an American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Certified Inspector. An ASHI Certified Inspector not only has to pass a national exam, but he or she also must have 250 inspection reports thoroughly reviewed by the top professionals in the field. In addition, an ASHI Certified Inspector must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. While there are a couple of other professional organizations that home inspectors can join, ASHI is generally recognized by professionals in this field as the one with the most stringent requirements and the strongest ongoing support/training for members.
When you select an ASHI Certified Inspector, you can be assured that you have chosen the “best of the best” in this profession.
Questions you should ask: What are your training and certifications? Are you ASHI Certified?
A home inspector’s experience should be reviewed in three areas: 1) number of inspections performed, 2) other, relevant experience, and 3) perception of people who have previously employed this inspector.
A full-time inspector, working a decade or so, will have performed several hundred if not several thousand inspections. By this time, the inspector has seen every home issue several times. He or she isn’t surprised by anything and typically can identify all issues quickly and efficiently — but can also usually identify the underlying reasons for those issues.
In addition to training and certifications, the top home inspectors also have other, relevant experience in construction, which helps to inform their inspections. An inspector with a strong construction background can typically recommend the most cost-effective solution for nearly every home issue. While even an inexperienced home inspector will be able to identify that a roof is leaking, an experienced home inspector with a strong background in construction can typically recommend the most cost-effective solution — such as locating the exact area of a leak — and may recommend that you only replace the area of the roof that is damaged. This experience can often save homeowners tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary repair bills!
As part of your inquiry into an inspector’s experience, you should also research online reviews — other clients’ perception of this inspector. An experienced inspector will have a large number of very positive online reviews and testimonials on his or her website, Facebook page, Google and potentially even other sites. Conversely, an inspector without any online reviews — or just a couple of reviews — should be a huge red flag.
While most homeowners won’t buy anything costing over $100 without doing research online, many homeowners will accept their realtor’s or neighbor’s recommendation without doing any research! If you’re buying a home that costs $200,000 or $300,000, doesn’t it make sense to do extensive research on the inspector you are paying to determine for you that your home is safe, structurally sound and free from major defects? When you hire a home inspector, you should consider this to be a buying decision that requires considerable research!
Questions to ask: When did you first become a home inspector? How many inspections have you performed during your career? What other experience do you have that helps to inform your inspections today? Where can I find your online reviews?
Housebusters Inspection Services believes that knowledge is power. As one can see, not all home inspectors have the same commitment, training, certifications or experience. Our advice is to invest the time to choose an experienced inspector who will perform a thorough inspection, provide you with a detailed report and gladly answer all of your questions!
The most qualified and experienced home inspectors will identify issues in a home, the cause of those issues and recommend the best courses of remediation. This is what Housebusters Inspection Services strives to do with every client! Contact us to schedule your home inspection today!