Not every state, but many states, including here in Washington State, require home inspectors to be licensed. Though these laws have been put into place to protect home buyers from purchasing a home they were told was a good buy when it wasn’t, there are still some fraudulent people that get around the requirements.
Documents get forged, identities of reputable inspectors are stolen, and other things to make fraudulent inspectors look licensed and trustworthy.
The Best Ways to Make Sure You Have A Great Home Inspector and Not a Fake Inspector
Choose an Inspector That Wants You Present at the Inspection– An inspector that recommends at least one of the property buyers are present during the entire inspection is less likely to be fraudulent. They want you to be informed and well aware of anything that is even slightly concerning in the home when they are finding it. They will welcome a buyer’s watchful eye.
Ask for a Sample Report- A good report will identify a defect in the property, explain why it is a significant concern, and suggest what needs to be done to fix the issue. Great reports will also include photos. So ask an inspector to see a previous report they have written upon former inspections.
Do a Web Search for Reviews– It is always great to ask the inspector for reviews, but it is also good to find online reviews not provided by the inspector to get a more in-depth insight about them.
Ask if they are a Member of ASHI, NAHI, InterNACHI, or another professional inspectors group– Members of these groups have been checked out and are only members because they check out.
Ask about Experience and Certifications- Ask them how long they have been inspecting, how many inspections they have performed, any specialization courses they have taken, and what special certifications they hold.
Ask for a Copy of Their License and Proof of Insurance-Trustworthy inspectors will be able to do this for you excitedly and quickly. In the case of forged documents and stolen identity, these won’t be proof of trustworthiness, but if somehow they do turn out to be fraudulent you have proof of wrongdoing with these papers to report the fraud.
Ask if any Area Won’t be Inspected- If you are buying a home in winter there may be some outdoor areas covered in snow that will be hard to get a full inspection. Ask about these spaces. You will get a quick answer and recommendation of how to combat these areas from a real inspector.
Inquire about Ancillary Inspections of Needed- Some properties have a septic system or are located in areas known for foundation issues. Ask before the inspection if the inspector is qualified to do those inspections and if they charge an extra fee.