Home inspectors must have a full working knowledge of every system in a home. A broad background in general construction is a good base to build from. Good home inspectors are typically those who have experience in the building industry. You want to work with an inspector who knows what’s inside the walls of your home and understands the basics of local building codes and requirements.
Referrals are a good way to choose an inspector. Many real estate professionals will refer quality home inspectors that have years of experience. Most will refer more than one inspector so there is no conflict of interest. Referrals from friends or relatives who may have used a quality inspector in the past are also good.
Ask how long the inspection will take. The time it take to perform a thorough inspection varies with the size and age of a home. However, if the inspector says it will take less than 2 hours find another inspector. The cost of an inspection is also a factor. A well-established, full-time professional inspector is going to be at the high end of the spectrum. Several hundred dollars is a small price to pay to get the best protection you can for perhaps the biggest purchase of your life.
You should also ask when you will receive your report. Most inspectors can have a computer generated report with photos e-mailed to you the same day or by the next business day. Printed copies can be delivered by mail or through your Realtor.