Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Criteria for Choosing A Qualified Home Inspector

I just saw a local news station video coverage on a homebuyer's horror story.

The home buyer encountered many home condition surprises and incurred about $11,000 in unplanned repairs. She cites the home inspection and inspector as missing these issues. She was very disappointed.

Without knowing the details, it’s hard to speak to this case. However, there are some very distinct considerations anyone hiring a home inspector should consider.

By comparing the following criteria and shopping for a qualified inspector an educated consumer should reduce the risk of disappointment or worse and should improve the likelihood of being very satisfied with your home purchase decision.

Realtors and Consumers should consider the following criteria at a minimum:


  • Do they carry general liability and errors & omission (E&O) insurance?

This protects the inspector, the referring Realtor, buyer and seller should physical damage occur or major devastating errors from the inspection.

None of the other criteria should be considered if the inspector does not carry proper and complete insurance.


  • What, if any, standard of practice do they base their inspections (e.g., American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI))?

  • If another, how does it compare to the nationally recognized ASHI standard in terms of proven and broad state-level acceptance?


  • What source & level of training, experience & education do they have?

  • Are they CERTIFIED with a reputable organization such as ASHI (e.g., qualified with proctored exam, peer reviewed reports, 250 inspections min. level of experience) or simply an online internet test?

  • Do they maintain continuing education?

  • How many Home Inspections have they performed? Not counting years in related services, such as remodeling or construction trades.


  • How much time do they typically spend on an inspection?

  • What additional inspection techniques and tools do they use?


  • Are they impartial (e.g., independent of anyone with a financial interest in the results except the client)?


  • How are their reports presented, organized & written? How much detail?

  • Is it prepared on site? Do they include pictures, diagrams, etc.?

  • How well does the inspector communicate with all involved parties?


  • How do they present results? Are clients encouraged to attend the inspection?

  • What do their clients say? Do they guarantee client satisfaction?

  • How much is the fee and what is it based on? Is it competitive for the services and qualifications provided?


  • How important is this service to the client’s home buying/selling investment?

  • How do their qualifications compare to the price? - Client must decide.

This criteria with a comparative worksheet is available at http://www.id-inspections.com/, near the bottom of the home page.

Don't make an all too often mistake on a major purchase. Shop and compare when looking for a professional home inspector.

-Jon Rudolph
I.D. Property Inspections, inc.

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