When you are preparing to buy a home and get a home inspection, don’t hire the first inspector you come across. Do your homework when choosing a licensed home inspector so you will have a quality home inspection that will reveal potential issues about the home before you buy it.

To have a good and thorough inspection, hire someone that knows what they’re doing and can properly identify your potential home’s defects. Just like in any profession, there will be those who are more qualified than others.

Interview Potential Inspectors

Before you choose an inspector, interview them first. Interviewing the candidates will provide answers about their experience, skills and reputation. Essential questions you need to ask potential inspectors are:

  • What does your inspection cover?
  • How long have you been inspecting homes and how many have you completed?
  • Do you participate in continuing education?

You also want to ask the inspector if they are licensed or affiliated with a professional inspection association. Licensing will differ from state to state and be based on each organization’s regulations. These organizations will require members to follow procedures and ethical standards when performing inspections.

Membership does not guarantee an inspector’s experience. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to rule out inspectors who are not members of a respected and professional inspection organization.

Request a Sample Home Inspection Report

Before hiring an inspector, request a sample home inspection report. This sample will ensure that the final report will satisfy the mortgage lender’s inspection requirements. It will also show you the caliber of the work they perform.

Although reports will vary in length, don’t hire an inspector if their reports are as short as 3 to 4 pages. A short report shows a lack of detail and thoroughness on the inspector’s part. A typical report will range from 20-50 pages and include photos highlighting issues and defects with the property.

Ask to Attend the Home Inspection

If a potential inspector doesn’t want you to attend the inspection, it should raise a huge red flag. A trustworthy inspector will typically allow you to accompany them during their inspection of the property. They should be willing to walk you through the property and point out issues.

You don’t need to stay for the whole inspection, as many take 3 to 5 hours, but you should stay for at least a half hour or so. A half hour is generally the time when an inspector will walk you through to see some of the problems that they have identified.

Next Up: Know Your Rights if Something is Not Disclosed During a Home Sale

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.