What are your tips for finding a GOOD home inspector.

I definitely recommend a good home inspector when purchasing any home (new or old) but other than checking references (more than the realtor), what tips do you have for determining whether an inspector is good prior to hiring. I know you can tell some about an inspector watching them inspect, but by then its usually too late.
  5 answers
  • I know I'm going to make the hair stand up on the back of some necks with my comments, so I'll try to be gentle. Realtors earn a living by moving houses. I appreciate that a realtor may concentrate working with sellers where others may concentrate on buyers, depending on location, the market, and a dozen other factors. Regardless, the business relies on moving properties. An extremely thorough home inspector is bad for business, at least from an immediate cashflow perspective. It gets to be a bit of a dance when it comes to inspecting a house that is on the market. Locally, most of the time if not all, an inspector is not allowed in the house until an offer had been accepted. This would cause me to speculate that a recommendation from a "selling" realtor for the kind of inspector you want when purchasing a home would not be worth much. That realtor that is helping you search for a house, in spite of worthy intentions, is not going to want an inspector pick apart every house they show you because again; no sale means no business which means no income. My point here is it is unlikely that the most thorough home inspectors in an area are going to be on any realtor's recommended "short-list", because using them in theory, is bad for business. That doesn't mean the top realtors don't know who they are...but you won't get names out of them unless the realtor is a friend and then the joking comment will be "I don't use him/her because they are too thorough". The "leading edge" inspectors today put together very thorough reports....most of them special software driven because the new computer-savy consumer demands it. Perhaps some examples of their recent work and who/what the customer was would help. If they didn't do much realty work, that could be a good thing... or a bad thing... The local permit office may have a lead or two on the very thorough inspectors..... Again, by the time an inspector is allowed into a property to inspect, all of the players involved want the sale to go thru. The only potential party to the deal that really wants a very thorough, accurate home inspector is the buyer....
  • Tim, great information. But I still find it hard to tell a consumer what to be looking for specifically. Referrals from non-realtors, meaning for me generally home buyers who used the inspector to inspect, got a thorough report, watched the inspection and after some time living there, did not find major issues that the inspector overlooked. Those are difficult to find and there is usually a tight window to get someone selected, so buyers should be doing their due diligence on an inspector early on while still looking at homes. Perhaps some website reviews would help but still subject to the same questions of reliability as any other review.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Mar 16, 2012
    Over the years I have had a handful of clients bring me along to look through a property on a visit.
  • Clay B Clay B on Mar 17, 2012
    Hire your own inspector, do not go with anyone recommended by your real estate agent, or the other party's real estate agent. On my next home purchase, I will get the home inspected, but I will also pay a reliable home builder/'contractor to go go over the home again,and alse read the home inspectors report, and get the contractors input. For the most part, I think the home inspector business is a sham. Because if they give a bad report to a real estate agent, that agent, and probably others will not call them again, so they are somewhat forced to give a decent report. At least with a second opinion from a home builder/contractor, I know he/she has no financial interest in my home purchase, other than getting paid for their time and opinion. Sorry, I've had poor inspectors in the past, missed major things, and many smaller things they should have noticed, thats what we pay them for. Thats my best advice to protect your wallet.
  • SawHorse Design Build SawHorse Design Build on Mar 17, 2012
    I would find one that can do a home inspection and energy audit. I would also like to see a sample of their report. If it contains more "boiler plate" comments that unique suggestions, then I would look for someone else. If you are looking for one of the best ones, then find ones that teach classes to other new inspectors. Experience is key when looking at houses.
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