Questions for choosing the right inspector.
1. What experience do you have? In what areas and for how long? While most inspectors learn on the job, they don't all necessarily have a well rounded background. Many came from just HVAC and plumbing, or mostly doing electrical and heating installations. Some started as code officers.
The best inspectors will have many years of doing all types of home installations and repairs as they are better able to discern the subtle clues of what is normal and when something isn't quite right.
2. How long have you been a home inspector? It is now required for all home inspectors when they are starting out to have at least 100 home inspections that have been managed by a current home inspector. The best inspectors have at least 8-10 years of inspecting and have been to many continuing education classes but have also seen many different types of properties by that time.
3. Can I be there during the inspection? The best way to learn about your home is to be there during the inspection. Learning its intricacies and secrets as the inspector finds them. A homeowner who understands their home will be much more astute if and when something isn't quite right. Being able to ask questions is imperative in your comfort level the day you move in.
4. What associations do you belong to?
5. What does your price include? If there are freebies, ask about the fine print. Warranties, guarantees, and included services often come with lots of exceptions - typically are only covered for items that an inspector might have missed or omitted from their reports.
6. What kind of insurance do you carry? New York State only requires their inspectors to carry liability insurance. In other words, if they break or damage something in the process of doing the inspection, the house is covered. But inspectors are not required to carry Errors and Omissions insurance. This covers you if the inspector misses or omits a major item that should have easily been found or at least the inspector suggested further investigation for.
7. What testing or training have you had besides what New York State requires?
8. Can you give me some client references?
As of January 1st, 2006 all home inspectors must be licensed by New York State, must receive at least 24 hours of continuing education every 2 years and must carry liability insurance in case they cause damage to your home while inspecting - however they are under no obligation to carry E & O (errors and omissions) insurance.