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Get a Thorough Home Inspection Before You Buy a Home

front door with keys in it

Buying a new home? Here’s what you need to know about qualified home inspectors.

For many years now, we have been urging homebuyers to always get a thorough inspection by a qualified home inspector before purchasing a home. Dave von Beck was even featured in an NBC News story on this very issue:


Here are some things to consider when choosing a home inspector:


  1. Is the inspector a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors or the National Association of Home Inspectors? A certified inspector must pass written tests, have performed 250 paid inspectors, and take continuing education courses. Both ASHI and NAHI have a set of standards and a code of ethics members must follow.
  2. Is the inspector’s liability limited to the inspection fee?  Many home inspectors have such a clause in their contract, and that can be hard to get around if you have to make a claim –even if the inspector missed tens of thousands of dollars in defects that he or she should have caught.
  3. Does the inspector carry errors and omissions(“E&O”) insurance?  Any prudent inspector is going to carry such insurance.
  4. Can you be present for the inspection?  We believe it is imperative that if you are going to buy a home, you be there for the inspection.  It is a prime opportunity to walk the property for yourself with an eye toward finding issues of concern, all while your qualified inspector is there.  You can talk directly with the inspector – and you can ensure he or she is inspecting everything.  Unfortunately, we often see homebuyers so excited about the purchase that they ignore clear warning signs.
  5. Does the inspector use a moisture meter to look for possible water intrusion?  This is particularly important here in the Pacific Northwest, where long-term water intrusion can go undetected while causing extensive damage within a home’s walls and roof cavity.
  6. Is the inspector qualified to perform a pest inspection? If you live in an area where mold or pests are a common problem, make sure the inspector is trained for that.


Keep in mind that many realtors are more interested in “closing the deal” than in ensuring that their buyer clients are aware of every possible defect in a given home.  So, your realtor may not be the best source for a recommendation on a thorough home inspector.

Given how much you will be spending to buy any particular home, it is well worth taking the time to ensure that you get a qualified inspector – and that you then read the entire inspection report carefully and follow up with the inspector to ensure that you fully understand any issues of concern.