Who Chooses the Home Inspector

It's time for the home inspection. You've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's with a contingency for getting your new home looked at by a professional generalist. A what?

That is right. You need an expert inspector that has a respectable amount of knowledge about all the components of your house. Not an electrician, but understands enough to spot dangerous situations in the circuit panel, knowing when to recommend inspection by a qualified electrician.

Not a structural engineer, but can decide when to recommend that you hire a carpenter, mason or a structural engineer by looking at the basement wall, the floor joists or any number of structural components. This is the same with the HVAC, plumbing, roofing or any other component of the house. Because most people don't buy a house very often or only once in a lifetime, more than likely this is the first time you have had to hire an inspector. Sometimes it can get confusing with people around you offering to help along with professionals telling you what to look for in an inspector. These are the main criteria that are important.

Most good inspectors have a construction background and this is one of the primary questions you need to ask. How many years, what trades and at what level is your construction background? General Contracting? Apprentice, Journeyman or Superintendent? Owner?

Most good inspectors are doing home inspections full time with a large number of inspections completed. Ask both of these questions and you will find out. Full time inspectors are over 100 inspections per year. How long have you been inspecting? How many inspections?

Most good inspectors will take 2-3 hours on a house 2000 sq ft or under, maybe longer if there are many deferred maintenance items, defects, the house is old, there are crawl spaces or the client is chatty. How long will the inspection take?

Most good inspectors can do 2 inspections in 8hrs, some work nights and weekends, all will need a little lead time, call early! When can you do the inspection?

All inspectors, good, bad or somewhere in between, are licensed, will abide by NYSDOS standards of practice, [ if and when they finish them], or an associations standards of practice, [INACHI, NAHI, ASHI], get in-service training and answer the phone. No need of asking those questions. Ask, do you educate yourself above and beyond the minimum requirements? What are the topics?

There are more questions you can ask and you probably noticed price was not covered. You are buying a used house. If you were buying a used Mercedes for $100,000, would you take it to the cheapest or the best garage in town?