1. Are you specifically experienced in residential inspection?
Related experience in construction or engineering is helpful, but is no substitute for training and experience in the unique discipline of home inspection. If the inspection is for a commercial property, then this should be asked about as well.
2. How long will the inspection take?
The average on-site inspection time for a single inspector is 1 ½ to 3 hours depending on the condition and size of the property. Anything significantly less may not be enough time to perform a thorough inspection. Additional inspectors may be brought in for very large properties and buildings.
3. How much will it cost?
Costs vary dramatically, depending on the level and type of inspection, the property floor area, property geographical location and the inspector’s qualifications. A typical range might be $250–$550, but consider the value of the home inspection in terms of the investment being made. Inspection cost does not necessarily reflect quality.
4. What does your inspection cover?
The inspector should ensure that their inspection and inspection report will meet all applicable requirements in your state if applicable and will comply with a well-recognized standard of practice and code of ethics. You should be able to request and see a copy of these items ahead of time and ask any questions you may have. If there are any areas you want to make sure are inspected, be sure to identify them upfront.
5. How long have you been practicing in the home inspection profession and how many inspections have you completed?
The inspector should be able to provide his or her history in the profession and perhaps even a few names as referrals. Newer inspectors can be very qualified, and many work with a partner or have access to more experienced inspectors to assist them in the inspection.
6. What type of inspection report do you provide and how long will it take to receive the report?
Ask to see samples and determine whether or not you can understand the inspector's reporting style and if the time parameters fulfill your needs. Most inspectors provide their full report within 24 hours of the inspection.
7. Do you offer to do repairs or improvements based on the inspection?
Some inspector associations and state regulations allow the inspector to perform repair work on problems uncovered in the inspection. Other associations and regulations strictly forbid this as a conflict of interest.
8. Will I be able to attend the inspection?
This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector's refusal to allow this should raise a red flag. Never pass up this opportunity to see your prospective home through the eyes of an expert.
9. Do you maintain membership in a professional home inspector association?
There are many state and national associations for home inspectors. Request to see their membership ID, and perform whatever due diligence you deem appropriate.
10. Do you participate in continuing education programs to keep your expertise up to date?
One can never know it all, and the inspector's commitment to continuing education is a good measure of his or her professionalism and service to the consumer. This is especially important in cases where the home is much older or includes unique elements requiring additional or updated training.
11. What is the difference between a Home Inspector and a Code/Building Inspector?
A lot of people ask me what’s the difference between a Home Inspector and a Code ( Building) Inspector. A Home Inspector can be anyone with some sort of construction background, who can pass a certified home inspection course, ( at least 90 hours in some states) and pass the National Home Inspectors exam, 200 questions. A Home Inspection is based on a visual safety inspection and based on opinion by the individual. Yes, a Home Inspector can point out possible code violations, yet they require validation from a Licensed Code Inspector or engineer. A Code/Building Inspector has to have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the industry, take the ICC exam (300 questions) and pass. Then depending on which state you wish to work, there may be other qualifications. FL for exp, you must be approved by the DBPR ( Department of Business Practice and Regulations) before you can apply to take any exam. You also need to pass a Business Practice’s and Principles exam, which is basically business ethics, finance, and procedures. A Code Inspector is just that, they look at job safety and make sure each trade follows the building codes. Remember building codes are the minimal codes required to meet safety standards. These codes are constantly being updated, and not all states require the same codes. Even different parts of the same state follow different codes, some municipalities may require their own rules and regulations. The only way a code be altered is by a Licensed Engineer, and it has to be in writing and stamped.