How to Hire the Right Home Inspector

25 years ago, a home inspection was a rare thing, and professional home inspectors were few and far between. Now, nearly every buyer knows that they should get an inspection, and there is a seemingly endless supply of inspectors, all claiming some ‘certification’ or credentials that sound impressive. But how do you know which is the right inspector for you?

Well, here are a few simple thoughts from someone inside the business (some of which, many inspectors will be upset with me for revealing, and will hope you won’t read them). Interview them personally. Don’t just take someone’s advice that “this guy is good.” Talk to them.

  • Ask them about what they do (and don’t do – many don’t walk roofs, some don’t give repair cost estimates).
  • Ask them about their reports (simple checklist, or descriptive narrative?)
  • Do they provide repair cost estimates?
  • Are they licensed (if necessary in your sate)?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their background and/or training?
  • Are they members of the BBB or Angie’s List or other consumer oriented groups?
  • Most importantly, do they treat you with respect and listen to what your needs are?

You will quickly find that there is a world of difference in Inspectors and how they view YOU, the client, as part of the inspection. Some see you as a necessary evil, or an interruption of “their” inspection. You will know you have hired one of these inspectors if they hand you a measuring tape to keep you busy measuring rooms while they inspect.

Often on inspector chat boards they talk about “controlling” their inspection, as if the client is a bother. Never forget: The inspection is (and SHOULD be) all about YOUR education, and making YOU comfortable with your new home.

E & O Insurance.

Ask your inspector if they are insured. Many inspectors treat this question as if you have just asked them for their Debit Card and PIN, but it is a legitimate and VERY intelligent question for clients to ask. You wouldn’t let an uninsured plumber work on your pipes, would you? So why allow an uninsured inspector advise you on the entire home and all of its systems and components? E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance is your protection that if the inspector misses something significant, that you won’t be left paying for that mistake.

Experience.

My dad always said: “There is no substitute in life for experience.” (He also said, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”) This is also true when it comes to inspectors. While some may have read it in the best books available, you simply have to learn some things by doing them. (Like, for example, never test the door to a room by closing it from the inside of the room. The reason why will be instantly clear when the knob falls off in your hand and you are stuck on the interior.)

You will know just by talking to an inspector and asking them the questions listed above whether you are talking to a raw “newbie” or a seasoned pro. Some pride themselves on “writing up” lots of defects, but often, many of these items are actually quite common and relatively minor (the kinds of things most sellers won’t address or compensate for). Some inspectors also pride themselves on being disliked by Realtors. This simply mystifies me since most Realtors I know honestly care about putting their client in a good home, and respect the opinion of the inspector. Most times, this indicates to me an inspector who is a little full of himself, and may be out to prove how much he knows, or wants to make a major deal out of a minor issue.

Certifications are a dime a dozen in the inspection industry. Every day, my email inbox is jammed with people selling more quick and easy “certifications” of this and that. In fact, one place will certify you (yes, you) as a “master” inspector if you take several free online courses and send them a check for $375 – without ever performing a single inspection! As you can see, certifications are highly suspect. Professionally, the ones that are truly significant are offered by the International Code Council (ICC) and certify that the inspector has a detailed understanding of current building code (particularly helpful if you are purchasing new construction).

In general, I would recommend an inspector who has performed at least 1,000 inspections, and has at least 3 years experience – but even among these, you must ask the other questions to get the best fit for your needs.

Choices.

Does the inspector offer choices to accommodate you? All buyers are not the same. All homes are not the same. So why do most inspectors offer the same inspection to all clients? Ask if they offer choices in prices, level of detail, and services offered. An investor seeking an opinion on the basic components (structure, roof, electrical, plumbing, HVAC) of a home they intend to renovate may not need the meticulous detail required by a nervous First Time Buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you really need, even if it seems to be more (or less) than what the inspector typically offers. If the inspector you speak to can’t offer the service you need, keep searching, you will find one that does.

Price.

Which brings us to the last point, and the first question most people ask: “How much does an inspection cost?” The answer is – it depends (mostly on your area of the country, and the size of your home). Most inspectors base the price on square feet (the larger the home, the longer it takes to inspect). Be cautious of those who use price or zip code as a determining factor (buying a more expensive home in a more affluent neighborhood can dramatically increase your price with these inspectors who believe you must have more money to spend). Shop prices around. You CAN and WILL find a reasonably priced inspector who is every bit as good or better than the highest priced inspectors.

A good clue is: If someone doesn’t post their prices on their website, they are higher than is typical. Again, many inspectors will react rudely with some variation of “you get what you pay for.” Ask that inspector if they buy Premium Unleaded at the most expensive gas station in town, and then look through the grocery store circulars to find the highest priced items available – after all, they must be the best if they are the most expensive!

Why Online Home Inspector Training? Flexibility, Convenience and Much More!

As you prepare for a new future in home inspection, you may wonder what type of learning method provides the most advantages for you. If you haven’t considered learning online, you should take note of the many benefits of enrolling in an online home inspector training program. You’re a busy adult and need an education that is tailored to your life. From a flexible schedule to a self-paced course, you’ll be able to build a solid foundation of home inspection knowledge with these benefits:

Learn Anytime, Anywhere – One of the biggest advantages of choosing online training is that you can log onto your online course day or night. Because the course materials are accessible on your computer, you can literally determine your study schedule. If you work during the day, complete your assignments, quizzes and tests during your lunch break or at night after dinner. Additionally, if you have a laptop computer, you can learn on the go – take your computer with you and study whenever you have free time.

Create a Steady Pace – If you want learn the concepts faster, you can move at an accelerated rate. If you need to slow down to concentrate harder on the terminology and procedures, you can do that too. The best news is that you’re in charge! You never have to feel that you’re behind; you set the pace, which means that you call the shots in your education. You’ll know the material because you are learning it your way.

Receive High-Quality Materials – If you do your research and enroll in an accredited school, you’ll have the same high-quality materials that you’d find at a traditional brick-and-mortar school. From in-depth textbooks with full color illustrations to comprehensive DVDs that clearly depict home inspection concepts, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to succeed on the job. Additionally, some schools provide case studies and mentor ride-alongs so you can gain the hands-on experience you need to transfer into your career.

Keep Your Current Job – There’s no need to quit your job or take time off to prepare for your home inspection career. With online home inspector training, you can maintain your same schedule, with no disruptions. There’s also no additional time away from home. If you have a family, your study time doesn’t interfere with dinner, sports or after-school pickups. It’s the easiest way to keep things the same while you study for an exciting future.

Save Money, Time and Your Sanity – You can say goodbye to the negative aspects of traveling to a live school. There are no gas costs or parking fees. You don’t have to endure long commutes or time away from home. The distance between you and your training will be a short walk to your computer. You’ll sit down to study and be relaxed, calm and ready to focus on your studies.

Get Personal Assistance – Learning online doesn’t mean that you learn alone. In fact, most online schools provide one-on-one assistance with their online education. If you have a question, you can call during regular business hours and talk to someone. Course questions, technician issues or encouragement – you’ll find it all at an online school.

You have many choices when it comes to your education. You have to determine if the benefits of enrolling in an online home inspector training program are what you need with your career training. It’s an ideal way to prepare for your new future your way. If you like the idea of creating a custom education that works for you, then online learning should be your first choice. Online education can provide the flexibility, convenience and opportunity you’re looking for.

Learn the Contribution of Home Inspector Schools to Certified Ones

Every year, there are just about millions of Americans who apply for Federal Housing Administration or FHA loan. These realtors, mortgage brokers and home buyers know the importance of home inspection. The primary task of the inspector is to evaluate the overall condition of a home. Spotting the structural damages, detection of leaks and plumbing corrosions are all learned from school. Home inspector schools are the foundation on how to become a certified inspector. Education is the initial key of acquiring knowledge.

Being a regular inspector is not enough with the current demand in today’s market. Getting a license, certification and membership to some associations are all important in order to become an in-demand in home inspection market. Every year, the real estate market fluctuates. Many people buy and sell their homes. The demand for house inspection is always present. If one is stuck on being a traditional inspector, the career ends there. The situation today is learning more to gain more. Learning must be continuous. Get license and be certified to be a completely professional inspector.

Training and Education- Taking up training courses to inspector schools is a good step. This will definitely take one to become a certified home inspector. American Home Inspector Training Institute and American Society of Home Inspectors offers online and classroom training courses. Inspectors will learn some tips through discussion and some school introduce software to provide more information.

Experience- Finding local inspectors to get professional mentoring is important to gain actual knowledge. Aspiring certified inspectors would get a feeling of the real inspection process and can get answers from questions with the whole activity. It provides a good exposure to one’s skills. This can also win connections from different certified inspectors, future clients and companies that can help anyone to be an intern or trainee. Everyone successful in this field started from nothing. The experiences gain should be worked hard and earned.

Certification- Get certified by meeting the certification requirements. Being certified by a known and respected regulatory body like American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI is necessary to be truly a qualified inspector. A completion of home inspection licensing courses is needed for a license. The completion of certain education and experience are required in addition to proper training and field work. Still, everything depends on each State’s regulation.

Business- A licensed home inspector can choose whether to practice the profession as individual provider or put up a business. Home inspection is a high-paying job especially if the business has gained its clients trust. Owning a home inspection business brings a good future.

One of the requirements to become home inspector is the knowledge of construction practices in every building trade. Going to inspector schools, getting trained and acquiring license comes with a cost in order to achieve each step. But, money is incomparable to the experience and bright future the profession brings to any individual. Home inspection services are always needed. Buying and selling a house always require a home inspector. It is important in real estate industry to always purchase this kind of service. The birth of consumer awareness has helped home inspection industry gain its demand. Still, today, the demand for home inspector is increasingly unstoppable.