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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home Inspector

Below are some questions you will probably wish to ask when selecting a home inspector.  You can download a form by clicking here which should help you find an inspector capable of handling your needs. 

1. Did someone actually answer the phone? 

Many home inspectors operate very small single person operations. Not that there is any real inherent problem with this, but what if you have a question later or need assistance.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get hold of a real person and not somebody’s voice mail?  When you call Affordable Inspection Service during normal business hours, you will be greeted by Jane who is our office manager, she can help guide you through the process and answer most questions that you might have.

2. How long have you been in business?

We all started at some point, but do you really want your inspector practicing his new skills on your house?  Affordable Inspection Service has been in business since 1994.  Same company, same service.  We aren’t going anywhere.  We’ll be here when you need us.

3. How many inspections have you done?

There’s no real way to prove this one, but suffice it say there are a lot of fish tales out there.  It’s better to know how long someone’s been in business. If you are a poor inspector, you’ll run out of time, money and energy within a few years.  Affordable Inspection Service has done well over 15,000 inspections in the greater Cleveland area.

4. How long does an inspection take?

Again, we are back to the pay by the hour argument.  It generally takes 2 to 3 hours to complete an inspection.  Sometimes longer sometimes a little less.  Affordable Inspection Service, Inc. will take as long as we need to do a thorough inspection and ensure all your questions are answered.

5. Can I attend the inspection?

If the answer is no, RUN!  I’ve seen inspectors who spent 20 minutes inspecting a house because the client wasn’t there.  Affordable Inspection Service strongly encourages you to attend the inspection, follow us around, ask as many questions as you want and get involved with the inspection.  If you cannot be there, I promise you we will do the same inspection with the same attention to detail as if you were looking over our shoulder.

6. Are you a member of ASHI or InterNACHI?

Here’s the funny thing about Ohio.  There are no licensing requirements for Home Inspectors in Ohio.  (I know, it’s hard to believe).  If you can watch a 30 minute DVD, buy a screw driver and print business cards, guess what? You are a home inspector.  Most home inspectors belong to at least one professional organization such as ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) or InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors).  These professional organizations dictate continuing education, testing and compliance with their ethics and standards of practice. If I were buying a house today, I would insist on a ASHI or InterNACHI inspector.  Affordable Inspection Service inspectors are all members of ASHI and/or InterNACHI.

7. Do you publish your price?

Many Inspection companies get a feel for what you’ll pay before giving you a quote.  Please don’t fall into this trap.  Many companies have hidden fees such as more for a crawlspace or more for an extra bathroom.  Does the dentist charge less if you are missing a tooth?  The only thing extra Affordable Inspection Service ever charges for is travel outside of Cuyahoga County or if you want us to mail your report somewhere.  If you live in the county and want your report delivered electronically, please feel free to write the check before you get there.

8. Do you charge by the hour? By the square foot?

Affordable Inspection Service has been inspecting houses for many, many years.  I want you to feel comfortable with what you are paying and know what you will get.  We will stay there until all your questions are answered. End of story.

9. Do you do any kind of repair work?

If the answer is yes, you might want to look elsewhere.  Not that an inspector who also does home repair is dishonest, but why would you want to hire an inspector who has enough free time on his hands to repair houses.  Also, this is a big conflict of interest to say to you “Well, Mr. Smith, it looks as if you need a new roof, do you want me to come over and put a new one on for you?”  Affordable Inspection Service will not make repairs.  We can generally give you some good advice if you want to tackle a project on your own.

10. Do you attend Continuing Education?

Absolutely we do.  We are required to attend classes every year to ensure we are up on the latest techniques, building trends and developments in the construction industry.

11. Do you use a pre-inspection agreement?

Most inspectors use some sort of contract to protect themselves.  Make sure the contract also offers you protection and spells out what the Inspection Company is required to inspect and what they won’t.  You may view / download the Affordable Inspection Service pre-inspection agreement from the web-site.


12. What kind of report do you produce?

Affordable Inspection Service uses a computer generated report.  We purchase our inspection software from 3-D Inspection System.  They have been the leader in inspection software for many years.  Our reports are very easy to understand with no technical jargon and everything fully explained. 

13. When will I get the report?

Affordable Inspection Service will make sure you get your report the day of the inspection or in the most extreme case within 24 hours.  If we are mailing you your report, we will send it Priority Mail.  If you need it “Overnighted”, no problem, we will only charge you the actual additional mailing expenses.

14. Can I view a sample report?

Reports vary significantly from one inspector to the next.  Please look at their report before deciding.  Many companies use a check-sheet report which is not very helpful once he is gone.  Affordable Inspection Service uses a computer generated narrative style report.  

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