Choosing the Right Home Inspector

May 24th 2012
Choosing the Right Home Inspector

Buying residential or commercial real estate is a serious venture with some potentially significant risks. Selecting the right property inspector can greatly reduce the associated risks, and the following information will help you understand the process.

What qualifications should an inspector have?

Check the inspector’s credentials, a certified and licensed inspector with the designation CPI, CHI or RHI (Registered Home Inspector) signifies that he or she is certified under a government act and is recognized by the courts and other professional bodies. 

A background in the building industry, as well as in the inspection field, is an asset. If you have not built or repaired it, how can you inspect it?

A qualified inspector is required to have a good working knowledge of:

- building envelopes
- structural components
- plumbing systems
- heating systems
- electrical systems
- roofing
- ventilation
- hazardous materials – IE asbestos related items such as Zonolite insulation

The inspector needs to understand how all the components listed above function and how they work together as a system. The ability to communicate this information to the client is also important.

An experienced, perceptive inspector should notice design defects and signs of structural or component deficiencies (including unprofessional workmanship). Follow-up information from the inspector should include the “how to or who to” make the necessary corrections.

Accepting a referral for an inspector through your realtor is not something I recommend. Make certain the inspector is working in your interest. Realtor/inspector relationships are a cause for concern within our industry.

How much should a house inspection cost?

It can cost thousands of dollars to sell an average house, yet people are sometimes surprised at a $500 to $600 fee to inspect the same property. The inspection of an average 2500 square ft. house provided by a qualified inspector should cost around $400-600. The inspection should include a detailed written report complete with pictures in electronic form and a walk through with the client. There should also be time for follow-up discussion. Allow 5 to 6 hours for a thorough inspection.

Bottom line: The purchase of your home is one of the biggest financial commitments you will ever make. Do your homework, ask the right questions and do not base your selection of a property inspector on price alone.

Click here to find a home inspector who is a member of the Shell Busey's Home Service Referral Network.