Most of us can relate to bad experiences we've had over the years when taking our car to a shop for repair. It takes some time, and trial and error to find a mechanic you can trust. But, when you buy a home, it's likely the largest investment you'll make in your life time.
There really isn't any room for trial and error there when choosing a home inspector. So, how do you screen inspectors so that your investment is protected? Should you choose from the list your realtor provides? Should you look at Google or Yelp reviews? Should you make your choice from Angie's list?
Here's my advice: Put together a short checklist you can ask several home inspectors. Where did you get your training as a home inspector, and what did it entail? How long have you been inspecting homes FULL TIME? Do you have liability Insurance? Are you reports computer generated and how long does it take to receive that report? What set of standards do you inspect to? Where can I find a list of those standards? How many inspections have you completed? Have you ever had a dissatisfied customer, and if so, what were the circumstances and how was it resolved?
Compare answers, look also at on-line reviews. In the end, I suggest hiring the inspector with the most inspection experience, who has the most training specific to home inspections, who inspects home for a living and not as a part time job, who has at least a few credentials, such as state licensing, various certifications ect...and, who can communicate his findings clearly and effectively. And, yes, if he's insured, that's a plus too.