How to find a good home inspector

How to find a good home inspector Recently, we caught up with our favorite home inspector, Jessie Tait, to learn more about home inspections.  Specifically, how to find a good one, and what items on your inspection report are quite common.   

Before we dive into what we learned from Jessie, we want to give you a quick background of Jessie's history in this field, and why she is our go-to expert for questions and information on all things inspections.

Jessie spent years as an architectural engineering consultant.  She worked with architects in designing electrical and lighting plans for buildings and amusement parks around the world.
When she moved to Pittsburgh, her many projects included work on Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and a new Westinghouse building.   Her favorite project was working on lighting for a new building for the School of the Blind.  There she learned how to create signals for the students through light and temperatures.

Back in 2018, she had accepted an offer on her home that she was selling, but ran into an issue when the buyer was not able to schedule an inspector in time.  That is when she saw an opportunity to start her own inspection company.  Using the profits from the sale of her house, she took her years of experience and began to take educational courses on home inspections.  She opened her own Pillar To Post Franchise in 2018 and has been inspecting homes ever since.

So how can you find a good home inspector?

They should have a license or a membership to a self-governing organization.

First, start by checking to see if your state requires home inspectors to have a license.  You can click on the map above to find more details on your specific state requirements.  If you are in a state that does not require a license, then you want to find a quality inspector that is a member of a self-governing group such as ASHI or InterNACHI.    While both organizations are good, Jessie prefers ASHI as they require inspectors to go through extensive training, ensure that you mentor with an experienced inspector, and require continual education.

They should carry insurance.

While inspectors should carry this insurance, some do not so be sure to ask.   Specifically, you want to ask if they carry general liability and E & O insurance.  The E & O Insurance ensures that you can be covered for anything large and overtly missed by the inspector.

They should have mostly positive reviews, but don’t be discouraged by a few bad reviews.

Look for an inspector that has an average positive rating.  However, know that some bad reviews do not necessarily mean that the inspector is terrible.   Inspectors are hired to show you what is wrong, which can be hard for sellers to hear negative feedback about their home they love and have lived in for years.

Always check for the things listed above, even when the inspector is referred to you by your agent.

Most agents will give you a list of some great inspectors.  However, you want to make sure that you check their insurance, license (or self-governing membership), and reviews to ensure that you are comfortable with the inspector and that they will give you an unbiased report of your home.

What are the most common things found in a home inspection that might not be a big deal?

According to Jessie, in Pennsylvania, more than 90% of homes have or have had a mouse living in their home.  Mice do not have a preference for homes, so whether you a $1,000,000 home or a 40,000 home, there is a good chance you have a furry friend living with you.    They get in typically through the eaves and the most common area to see evidence of mice would be in your attic.  You will typically see holes within your insulation, which is how they get around throughout the attic.

The other problem she consistently sees with Pennsylvania homes are issues with grading. This is important because grading decides where stormwater will flow. The simplest way to avoid grading issues is to walk around your home with dirt and re-slope the dirt against the wall of your home a few times a year.   If you plan on mulching this year, remember that mulch holds moisture, so keep a 6-inch gap from the house to prevent moisture build-up against your home. 

Lastly, she recommends that you check your gutters as clogged gutters are one of the leading causes of foundation issues.   Make sure that you check them often and that your gutters and drains are connected and are properly discharging water at a minimum of 4 feet from your foundation.  

You can contact Jessie Tait at any time with questions about the process, or even questions about more common findings in inspections.  Simply click her author icon below to submit your questions.