I do not envy the job that any home buyer has in finding a good home inspector.
It is no small task.
Here is a partial list of some of the things that can be included in your quest to find a better than average home inspector:
1. Ask your agent–this is a good starting point–really good agents will work with really good inspectors. This does not “have to be” a conflict of interest. You will want to work with all the best people that are working the hardest to take care of you.
2. Do they belong to a reputable Home Inspector Association that requires a proctored membership exam as well as continuing education?
3. Do you have to jump through more than one hoop to contact them–i.e. is their phone number front and center?
4. Do they have a “functional” website (not just a page with their name on it–nor a website that is so complicated it is useless)?
5. Do they have a sample report on their website? Read it–does it look like the kind of information you are looking for, at the level of detail you are looking for, and is it written so that you can understand it? (I think that comparing sample reports is one of the best ways of evaluating and or comparing home inspectors. You will get to see what you will end up with in written form. You may also be able to get a sense of whether the person you talked to on the phone is “consistent with” the person that wrote the report? If you get an answering service always ask to speak directly with the inspector—this initial conversation is very important.)
6. Do they have a blog? Read it–you will likely find out a great deal about the inspector, and what their relationship is to what they do.
7. Ask friends that have had inspections done–but be careful with this one–look at their reports and keep in mind that your friends may not have done their homework.
After this, all I can say is do your homework–and for extra credit and better results–do your homework twice.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle