Find the right home inspector for you

Navigating the search for the perfect home inspector can be a challenge. Figuring out how to find someone who truly has your best interests at heart can be tough. There are many routes in which to find a home inspector. I’ve listed pros and cons to each one so you can decide the best way to go about finding your home inspector.

Method 1: The Inspector Your Agent Prefers

Typically, real estate agents tend to have a preferred inspector they’ve developed a relationship with, knowing they’ll carry out the job to their expectations. This is the most common method for home inspections. And if you trust your agent, it is by far the easiest route.

  • Pro: You don’t have to do any of the work. If your agent is ethical, the inspector will be good and work for you.
  • Con: Depending on the ethical leanings of the agent, they might use that inspector because they know they will not be as thorough so as to not endanger the deal. In other words, the inspector will really work for the agent, not for you.

Method 2: The Agent’s List of Inspectors

Your agent could also hand you a list of 3 to 5 inspectors they recommend and suggest you give them a call for an interview. Then, it’s up to you to pick the one you want to work with.

  • Pro: You just have to make a few phone calls and pick one. If the realtor is ethical, any of the inspectors on the list will be good and work for you.
  • Con: Again, depending on the agent, those inspectors might work more in favor of the agent rather than for you. Sometimes, this list is made by the agent so that if something goes wrong, they can divert the blame to you since you were the one who ultimately chose the inspector.

Method 3: Online Search

You can go online and do a search for home inspectors in your area. Look at websites and reviews, and select the inspector you want to work with.

  • Pro: You are in control and pick the one that you think is best for you.
  • Con: This can be a lot of work. You might have no idea what to look for and what to check or ask. And what’s more, a lot of times the good inspectors don’t have to advertise anymore because they get so much business from their agents or word-of-mouth. They might have a bad website or none at all, and they won’t pay for SEO or Google Ads because they don’t need it. As a result, you might only find the inspectors online who spend the most money for advertising and web presence. However, they might not be all that great at their job or pretty new to a business where experience is incredibly important. You do not want a guy who’s been doing it for just a year or two.

Online Search at Referral or Review Sites

You go to “reputable” sites like Angie’s List or Yelp or Home Advisor or Better Business Bureau and pick from the top ranked ones.

  • Pro (well not really): You are in control and pick the one that you think is highly recommended so they must be good.
  • Con: All those sites are pay-to-play. There is no quality control at all – period. I personally don’t trust those sites, and I am not listed on them.

Referral From Somebody You Know

You ask around and get a referral from an acquaintance who used a guy who was fantastic.

  • Pro: Word-of-mouth referrals can mean a lot, especially when coming from a trusted source.
  • Con: A referral is just an anecdotal experience and doesn’t necessarily mean all that much. One person having a random experience does not mean much as a quality check. Now, if multiple people independently recommend the same guy…

Referral From a Professional Trade Organization

There are some professional trade organizations for home inspectors. The two biggest ones are InterNACHI – International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and ASHI – American Society of Home Inspectors. Both of these organizations hold home inspectors to a higher standard. They require background checks, continuing education every year, following a code of ethics, and more. You can go to or and use their directory to find InterNACHI and ASHI certified inspectors in your area to call and interview.

  • Pro: You will get a qualified certified home inspector who cares enough about his business and trade to go through the additional effort to become a certified inspector through that organization.
  • Con: While you will probably get somebody who is really good at what they do, they might be difficult to book because they’re so busy. (This is a con for you but a pro if you can book them, as they’re busy for a reason!)

Do Your Due Diligence

Regardless of which route you choose, you MUST do your due diligence. For each potential candidate, go through the following steps:

  1. Verify them. If your state/country regulates/oversees/licenses home inspectors, contact the appropriate agency and ask whether they are properly licensed, have any strikes on their record, etc.
  2. Research them online and see if you can find reviews on a neutral/objective site.
  3. Call them and interview them. You should ask them a number of questions that will help quickly weed out the bad ones.

Interview questions

Here are some questions you really should ask:

  • Are they a member of a professional trade organization such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)?
  • Do they take continuing education every year to stay current and better themselves?
  • Are they doing it full-time? Since when?
  • How long do their inspections take?
  • Do they do a thorough in-person walk-through with you at the end of the inspection where they explain the house to you and answer all your questions?
  • Do they have proper GL and E&O insurance?
  • How fast do you get the report?
  • Can you see a sample report?
  • Are they available for questions after the inspection?

Interview each one. Grill them. See how they talk to you, check their customer service and people skills, and compare them. A five minute phone conversation with each should make it pretty easy for you to choose the right one.

This is really important – regardless of whether home inspectors are regulated in your area, meaning there is a certain minimum standard they have to meet (which doesn’t necessarily mean much), or are

not regulated in your area, meaning any jackass with a clipboard and a flashlight can call himself a home inspector.

In case it isn’t obvious after all that: Do not ask them how much they charge. Price should never really be a deciding factor when selecting a home inspector. If you choose the cheapest guy you can find just so you can save $40 bucks, or the fastest guy so you can save an hour of your free time, then you deserve the fallout from that bad decision.


You’re about to make the biggest purchase of your life. Do your research and make sure you get the guy most qualified for the job.