In view of the fact that you are reading this article, would it be safe to assume that you have made the wise decision to hire a home inspector? Great! As you probably realize buying a home is a big investment and you need to find out everything possible about it before you sign on the dotted line and pledge to love, maintain and pay for the next 30 years. Your new home should not turn into your “Nightmare on Elm Street” with costly surprises awaiting you in every dark corner. Since all home inspectors are not equal we want to share with you some things to look for when choosing one.

Are they licensed? Not all states require a home inspector to be licensed. However, If your state does require a license, request the full license number (including letters if applicable). When you make your inquiry with the state, you will be able to determine if they are new, experienced or an apprentice.

A home inspector who is committed and takes his job and responsibility serious will carry Errors and Omissions and Liability Insurance. Ask for proof of the insurance.

Formal Training
Ask if they’ve had some training from a recognized training school. Until recently many states did not require formal training for home inspectors. Many inspectors were builders and electricians and learned on the job, however, no one profession does a quality inspector make.

You would definitely prefer an inspector with years of experience but more importantly one who performs at least 200+ home inspections annually. So ask for both years of operation and the number of inspections they complete per year.

Association Membership
Are they members of reputable associations that will hold them to high industry standards? Inspectors who have paid the fee, taken the training and testing are committed to provide the best quality service. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI) have a strict code of ethics and continuing educational requirements to maintain membership. There are other associations but not all them have strict membership requirements.

The Inspection
Ask how long the inspection will take to complete. A thorough inspection will take 2-4 hours on an average sized home (1500-2500 sq. ft). Anything short of 2 hours is probably not as thorough.

The Report
When will you receive the report and what type of report will you receive? Will you receive it within 24 hours, by mail, or email? Will the report be a checklist, written summary, or a computer generated report with pictures. The computer generated report with pictures is highly recommended. You may want to request a sample report. If it is only 3 to 4 pages long then it is likely the inspector is unqualified.

Continuing Education
You want an inspector who is keeping up with current industry standards. A quality inspector will want to keep his knowledge and skills up to the highest standards.

Other Qualifications
Ask if the inspector has additional training and certifications in other areas such as radon, pest inspection, mold, asbestos and lead. As these are not included in a typical home inspection but are issues that you might want to investigate.

In an attempt to save money many home buyers try to bypass this step in the home buying process or they search for a home inspector based on the cheapest price alone. A word of caution, a quality home inspector who is committed to providing the best service may cost more than the average inspector. The choice is yours, invest a little now to make certain that you have chosen the right home or possibly pay dearly later in costly home repairs that you were unprepared for.

Author's Bio: 

Christopher Shaw is a seasoned Real Estate Investor, with over 12 years of experience and has a passion for working with First Time Home Buyers, Mr Shaw has an ambitious goal of helping 1000 new First Time Buyers become home owners of the next 36 months. In addition to the 1000 new home owners he expects to create over the next 36 months wants to leverage each transaction to adopt up to 1000 families through Volunteers of America's Adopt a family Program.