What To Look For When Hiring A Home Inspector

Before you interview the inspector by phone, there are several things you need to know about our profession.

Certification by the Institute indicates the inspector is willing to undergo the scrutiny of report reviews. To remain certified by the Institute, the Baltimore home Inspector work must be submitted and reviewed annually. The work is reviewed for compliance with the standards and ethics set forth by the Institute.


Professional Home Inspectors carry Errors and Omissions (malpractice) Insurance. To carry this insurance is to do business as a professional. General liability and workman’s compensation are also important. You do not want to be liable, as their employer, if an inspector you hire is injured or damages the seller’s property.

National association affiliations.

There are many national organizations: NAHI, NACHI, SPREI, and ASHI®, are four of the major Home Inspection associations. Then there are AHIA, AIS, HIF, FREA and some others.

State association affiliation

CAHI (Connecticut), CREIA (California), FABI (Florida), MAHI (Maryland), TAREI (Texas), to name a few. In some states, there are chapters of the national associations.

Pre-Inspection Agreement

This is the written contract to do the inspection and is very important. It educates the buyer by explaining, in general terms, what the inspection includes and excludes and should also explain procedures for handling any dispute which might arise. You SHOULD NOT have a Home Inspection IF THERE IS NO Pre-Inspection Agreement.

Report Delivery

You want and need the report as soon as possible. Be sure the report will be in your hands when you need it. A report sent to you in the mail may take days. Generally Home Buyers have a limited number of days to have a Home Inspection, obtain the report and request a change to/or cancel their purchase offer. Getting the report in a timely manner is critical. Inspectors using the detailed reporting system available from this Institute should be able to deliver your report at the conclusion of most inspections.

Extra services

The professional Home Inspector should also be able to provide other inspection services, such as: radon testing (be sure the inspector follows the US EPA Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Protocols for testing during a real estate transaction, the professionals do), well water flow evaluations, water quality testing, wood desroying (termite) inspections, on site sewage system evaluations (you want the systems located, opened and evaluated – a dye test just doesn’t do the job of letting you really know the condition of the system). Each extra service should have a Pre-Inspection Agreement too.

Another very important service offered by some of the more professional inspectors is a review and comparison of the Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure Statement and the inspector’s report. In the past, it was the finding of the Home Inspector which some buyers used in their negotiations with the seller. Today, with seller’s disclosure, it is the difference between what is disclosed and what the inspector finds. You want the seller’s disclosures because they are important, BUT, the review of the two is even more important. The inspector is best qualified to perform this review.


Many professional inspectors charge from $250.00 to $500.00 and up, just for a basic Baltimore home inspection cost. With several extras, you could easily pay between $1,000.00 and $1,500.00. Beware of the $100.00 inspector. It costs the fully insured, nationally affiliated, Institute certified, full time Home Inspector about $100.00 per inspection in out-of-pocket expenses, before taking a paycheck.

Inspection duration

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get answers of from one hour to all day. Again, the fully insured, nationally affiliated, Institute certified, full time Home Inspector can be expected to spend the better part of a full day doing a home inspection. Beware of the inspector who is in and out of the home in one or two hours. It takes time to get to know a house. It takes time to evaluate water flow. It takes time to evaluate a heating system and the cooling system. It takes time to check the kitchen appliances. It takes time to do each of the things you need the inspector to do.

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