Consumer Awareness Guide

For choosing a home inspector and a convenient rate card.

Since home inspection is a relatively low barrier to entry business, you will find persons of many different levels of competence, with varying experience, different price ranges and dissimilar tool boxes. It is therefore critical that you find a professional so we hope this guide helps.

  1. What is his/her background and experience? There are no industry pre-requisites like construction or code knowledge or internships.
  2. What certifications do they hold? The home inspection industry is now flooded with “Certifications.” Some inspectors attained all of their qualifications from one place.
  3. Do they have any state or code authority certifications? Previous contractor experience is a real plus if they are inspecting new construction. The International Code council (ICC) issues certifications like Building/Electrical/Mechanical/Plumbing Inspector, etc.
  4. How long have they been performing home inspections in Florida? Issues in Florida can be unique. A home inspector with experience up north may know boilers and ice damming, but may not be familiar with EIFS, heat pumps or mold.
  5. How many inspections have they performed? The more inspection experience one has, the greater probability you have of finding a professional. Be careful, however, of those who perform 4-6 inspections per day.  
  6. How long does the inspection take? The industry average is 1.5 hours, our average is 4.5 hours. The more you know, the longer it takes. When you can’t recognize defects, you can move much faster.
  7. What kind of tools do they have? A good inspector will have a lot of tools that help form an educated and reliable opinion not just a guess. It also shows commitment to the profession. Some tools are so expensive, most inspectors will not invest the money.
  8. Do you use infrared? If so, are you a Certified Thermographer? Many entry level cameras have come on the market making it easier for an inspector to purchase one. Someone using a low-end camera that doesn’t understand building science can provide false and misleading information.
  9. What type of report format do they use? In this day and age, there is really no excuse not to employ good software that includes pictures, videos and live links. 
  10. When will you receive the report? If your closing is quick, you may not be able to wait a day or two or more. 
  11. Do they have a written service agreement outlining their scope of work? Never enter into an agreement to have something as expensive as a house inspected without having a written contract specifying who’s responsible for what.
  12. Do they perform repair work on houses they inspect? This would be an obvious conflict of interest and illegal. Other conflicts include paying or accepting commissions for inspection work, collusion with third parties, etc.
  13. Are they familiar with historically defective building products and building practices? Do they know about FPE, Zinsco, LP,GP, Masonite, polybutelene, PEX, EIFS, aluminum wiring, lead based paint, Chinese drywall, etc? Often, inspectors dependent upon check lists fail to include or mention these.
  14. Are they familiar with building science? In Florida, a good working knowledge of building science is critical. Problems can often be detected before they become problems if the inspector understands building science.
  15. Do they perform a life time safety recall check of major appliances? There are nearly 200 million recalled appliances. Are any of them in your new house? You should find out and track them!
  16. Does their price reflect the complexity of the inspection? You will no doubt discover a wide difference in price between home inspection companies. Why is this? Two reasons – complexity of the inspection and qualifications of the inspector. Old, large houses with crawlspaces, pools and problems, cost more than small new homes on slab foundations. A surgeon with 20 years of experience charges more than an intern. Look at the experience, credentials, time spent at the inspection, individual attention received, the inspection format, and then consider the value of the investment…and the risk. Somewhere there will be a balance. No home inspector will catch 100% of the problems, but some will shed far more light on them than others.
  17. Does the company have business systems in place? A company with an organizational structure and systems will be in business long after those who schedule their inspections from the attic.
  18. Do they offer warranties? We include $25K in warranties that cover mechanical systems, appliances, underground sewer lines, mold, termites, a 5 year roof leak repair warranty and a full 1 year structural warranty. If you use the INSPECTAGATOR, Residential Warranty Services will provide our clients 18 months of coverage for the price of the 12 month warranty! 
  19. What kind of insurance do they have in place? A company with a State minimum general liability may illustrate a limited ability to handle expensive issues. A company without an errors and omissions policy offers the consumer very limited and expensive options when they feel they have been harmed.