If you’re in the process of hiring a home inspector, there are three questions you should definitely ask before deciding which inspector to select. What are these questions?
1) Are you an ASHI Certified Inspector?
An American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) Certified Inspector has made a strong commitment to performing quality, thorough inspections; providing exemplary customer service; and operating under the highest ethical standards. If your inspector is “ASHI Certified,” you will be working with a professional who has passed the most rigorous technical examinations in effect today. Before becoming certified by ASHI, an inspector must perform more than 250 professional inspections. Having his or her inspection reports reviewed by other experts helps to ensure that ASHI Certified Inspectors learn to perform inspections according to the strict ASHI Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics.
Conversely, most state-licensed home inspectors are only required to take a course and pass an examination, with little or no review to ensure that their inspections are performed to any standard.
2) What is your experience as an inspector?
A home inspector who has performed only a couple hundred inspections is still learning his or her craft. Conversely, an inspector who has performed several thousand inspections over a couple of decades has significantly more experience — experience that will not only enable him or her to accurately identify issues in homes, but to also provide additional guidance. For example, even an inexperienced home inspector will be able to tell you that your roof is leaking and suggest that you contact a roofing contractor, but an experienced home inspector will typically be able to provide valuable (and potentially money-saving) guidance, including where your roof is leaking, why it is leaking and which area needs repaired.
3) What other experience and certifications do you have?
This is a very important question because two seemingly similar inspectors can have vastly different experience and certifications.
One inspector may only be licensed by the state to perform home inspections, while another inspector may be able to perform home inspections, mold tests, well water tests, septic inspections, manufactured home foundation certifications and even the various inspections required by lending institutions. Typically, if you need more than one service performed, you can save money by having a single inspector perform all of the services you need at one time.
Lastly, an inspector’s total experience should also play a vital role in determining which inspector you should select. A few people simply take a course and a test to become an inspector, while others became inspectors only after working for years in construction, even building homes.
Sadly, most people never take the time to ask these very important questions, perhaps because they may believe all home inspectors are created equal. As is the case with any profession, experience and training make a difference!