Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

Homebuyers are strongly encouraged to have an inspection before they close on the sale of a home. An inspection can uncover potential structural or mechanical issues. Here are nine questions an inspector should be able to answer to your satisfaction.

Do you belong to a professional association?

There are two main inspection organizations today, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).

Will your report meet all state requirements?

Also, make sure their professional organization complies with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics, such as those adopted by the American Society of Home Inspectors.

How experienced are you?

Ask inspectors how long they’ve been working in the field and how many inspections they’ve completed. Ask for customer referrals. New inspectors may be qualified, but they should describe their training and indicate whether they work with a more experienced partner.

How do you keep your expertise up to date?

Inspectors’ commitment to continuing education is a good measure of their professionalism and service. Advanced knowledge is especially important with older homes or those with unique elements requiring additional or updated training.

Do you focus on residential inspection?

Be sure to ask inspectors whether they have experience with the property type or features of the home you want to buy. They should be able to provide sample inspection reports for a similar property. While a qualified home inspector does a whole-house inspection, in some cases, they may recommend further evaluation by specialists such as a structural engineer or chimney inspector.

Do you do repairs or improvements?

Some state laws permit the inspector to provide repair work on problems uncovered during the inspection. In other states, however, it's considered a conflict of interest.

How long will the inspection take?

On average, an inspector working alone inspects a typical single-family house in two to three hours. Anything less may not be thorough.

How much?

Costs range from $300 to $500 but can vary dramatically depending on your region, the size and age of the house, and the scope of services. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

Will I be able to attend the inspection?

The answer should be yes. A home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity for the buyer and a refusal should raise a red flag. That said, a big crew can impede an inspectors work, so avoid bringing kids and third parties to the inspection if possible.