How to choose a
- Who’ll be doing the
inspection; the owner or an employee. I would want the owner inspecting my
house. Franchises usually send an employee who may not exercise the same
level of care
as the owner. Additionally, employees may not be certified and may not have
the same level of experience as the owner. I would not want an employee
inspecting my home.
- Is the inspector licensed in
NC and SC? If you're having an inspection in SC, you still want a NC licensed
(the licensing requirements for NC
are much more rigorous. NC also audits inspector reports and requires annual
training. So be sure to hire an inspector who is also licensed
in NC. (SC only requires a 40 hour course and passing a simple test. After
that, you're pretty much a home inspector for life with no requirement for
annual training, etc.)
- What are the
qualifications? What is his educational background? How much continuing education
does he receive? How long has he been a home inspector? Is he a full-time
(Many inspectors are part time and only do a few per month. I would want
someone full time who’s been an inspector for 3 years or more.) Many home
inspectors are previous plumbers, masons, carpenters. That’s fine, but that
may mean that they are under-educated.
While experience is important, you also want someone who can do research when
necessary, can type, and who doesn’t use
boilerplate, canned statements from a computer program, so look at their
reports. Do the reports appear comprehensive, or is there a lot of "appears
serviceable" to describe the components.
- Is he certified by a national association? (I'm a member of the National Association
of Certified Home Inspectors).
- How many inspections
does he perform a day? “No more than two” is the right answer. More than two,
and they fly through them and probably aren’t thorough.
- How much time will
he spend on your home? (If it has a crawl space, about 3 hours would be correct
for a 2,500 SF house. A slab will cut the time down by about 30 minutes.) Some
inspectors are in and out before the dishwasher finishes running. Don’t go
with anyone who spends less than 2 hours.
- Ask him if he
will point out significant cosmetic issues in new homes like gouges in wood
floors or granite countertops, poor sheetrock installation, or other poor
- Does he use lots of
photographs in the report? You want that. The builder or owner will want to
see it also.
- Does he check every
window, every door, every outlet? Home inspectors are not required to, but I do and you
should want that done.
- Find out about
his physical limitations? How old is he? How much does he weigh? You want
someone who can get inside an attic hatch, or crawlspace if you have one. If
the roof is one story and has a low slope, will he walk on it?
- How long does it
take him to get you the report? 24 hours is standard. (If he does the report
in the driveway, don't expect anything more than boilerplate computerized
statements and fluff about how to maintain a home.)
- Will he do a
re-inspection if you want it? A re-inspect is where the inspector returns to
the home to verify that corrections have been made. Many don’t do re-inspects.
Find out what they charge. ˝ of the original inspection price or about
$100/hour would be correct.
- How many home
inspections has he personally performed? 1000 or more would be good.
Verify the inspector’s license.
I have mine online. Most don’t. Ask him to fax it to you. Believe
me...there are unlicensed people out there!
much do you charge for an inspection" (about the least important thing
you can ask).
That will narrow the odds that you’ll
get a good inspector. Remember...just having a license doesn't mean he's
competent. Attend the
inspection if you can.