Are you are member of any professional organizations?
Jim examining a subpanel
Whether your inspector is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), you'll benefit by by having an inspector who's required to adhere to their organizations standards of practice, and to comply annual continuing education credits
- Do your inspections and reports comply with the Washington state Standards of Practice?
If it's a 2 page report, then no. Washington state's Standards of Practice ensure a minimum level of quality for your inspection. Various descriptive information must be provided such as the amperage rating of your electric service and the capacity of your water heater. The SOP also specify what systems and components are to be inspected, and the method of inspecting. Without standards, who knows what you're getting.
- Do you carry E&O and general liability insurance?
Errors and omission insurance is similar to malpractice insurance, and protects the inspector, and the client indirectly from post-inspection legal problems. General liability protects against bodily injury or property damage. Examples include when an inspector's ladder falls on a vehicle or a person.
- What kind of report do you produce?
Reports vary from pre-canned checklists to a narrative style. I produce narrative reports with information that helps you make decisions. Typically each comment on a material defect explains what the problem is, what the repercussions are if you don't make repairs, and then a recommendation for what to do. I use a digital camera with all my inspections, often with a close up of the problem and then an overview photo to show its location. Don't settle for less.
- Can I see a sample report?
Your inspector should be able to show you samples of their work before you make your decision to hire them. If they can't you don't know what you're buying. I encourage you to view my sample reports. These are actual home inspection reports, with the client and property address information obscured for privacy:
My sample reports:
- How long will it take to get the report?
Some inspectors take days to deliver their report. I know you typically have a 5 or 10 day window in which to have your inspection done and then respond. It's my policy to deliver your report within 24 hours of the inspection, usually the evening of a morning inspection or the morning after an afternoon inspection.
- Do you have formal training in home inspection?
No other profession or trade can fully prepare someone to become a home inspector. Knowledge of building isn't the same as knowledge of extended use and age related deterioration of components and systems. Extensive knowledge of many systems including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and roofing is required, along with knowledge of components that are obsolete yet still in service. An initial formal training, and continuing education is a must.
If you're interviewing inspectors and learn that someone's credentials include being a county building inspector, make sure to see my page on new construction.