12 Points to choosing a Home inspector

1) Licensing: Your inspector should hold a current, valid license in the subject property’s state. Licensing indicates that your inspector continues to meet the state’s minimum requirements for licensing. All PHI inspectors are licensed in the state of Wisconsin. Minnesota has no licensing requirement.

2) Exams: Your inspector should have passed the difficult National home inspector exam as well as any state exams. Passing exams indicates that an inspector has a certain level of home inspection proficiency. All PHI inspectors have passed the National and Wisconsin exams. Minnesota has no home inspector exam.

3) Insurances: Your inspector should have the three following kinds of coverage: Workers Compensation - to provide coverage in case the inspector sustains an injury, such as a fall from the roof, during the inspection. Without Workers Compensation Insurance, the Homeowner maybe liable for any inspector injuries. Errors and Omissions– to provide coverage in case the inspector misses something that he should have found such as a rotting floor that was accessible to the inspector. General Liability – to provide coverage for other, general issues such as damage caused by the inspector to the subject property. PHI carries all three insurances and will provide proof upon request.

4) Independence: Your inspector should have no financial interest in the purchase, sale, closing, repair or maintenance of the subject property. When an inspector has no financial interest in the subject property, he has no reason to give anything other than his candid, professional opinion of a property. An inspector who is not independent may be paid only if the property closes so he may not report all problems or the extent of all problems. An inspector who is not independent may report that certain repairs are needed (when in fact they are not necessary) and then offer to make those repairs himself for an additional fee. PHI belongs to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). The ASHI code of ethics requires that we have no financial interest in subject properties. As a result, we do not perform inspections on properties when we will be paid only if the property closes and we do not provide repairs or maintenance on subject properties. We also do not accept referral fees from any repair or maintenance providers.

5) Formal Training and Education: Your inspector should be a graduate of an accredited home inspector training center and/or have trained under an experienced home inspector.

6) On The Job Training: Your inspector should have on the job training being overseen by an experienced inspector before he begins solo inspecting. Each new PHI inspector goes on numerous inspections with experienced PHI inspectors. The new inspector first shadows each experienced PHI inspector and then inspects under the supervision of each experienced PHI inspector until the experienced inspectors determine that the new inspector is ready to provide solo inspections.

7) Technical Support: Your inspector should have access to other inspectors for those infrequent cases when he runs into something unusual and is not quite sure what the correct answer is. Your inspector should be able to give you the correct answer, not a guess in these situations. He should keep his knowledge current on industry issues and changes. PHI belongs to national and state organizations to gain (and provide) technical support from (and to) other state and national inspection professionals. PHI also subscribes to various publications and web based forums. PHI inspectors share their knowledge with each other.

8) Thoroughness: Your inspector should be very thorough and look at everything. He should climb into scuttle holes if he fits. He should crawl through crawlspaces if he fits. You want him to look at everything that is accessible to him. PHI inspections take 3-4 hours depending on the size and age of the house and how many questions you ask. We are not paid by the hour. We are paid to do the job right.

9) Willing Educator: Your inspector should be willing to have you attend the entire inspection and he should answer all of your questions. PHI encourages all customers to attend the entire inspection and we welcome your questions. Our job is to educate you about your new home’s condition, proper maintenance and operating systems.

Please be aware that it is important to allow your inspector to concentrate on the inspection. The inspection is more time efficient and goes more smoothly when you can consolidate your questions rather than subjecting your inspector to a constant barrage of interruptions. Constant questions and interruptions will slow the process significantly.

10) Investment and Peace of Mind: Remember that this house is a large investment for you. It is a complicated structure. Your family will live in it. You need to weigh the cost of the inspection against the value of the service. You want a very thorough, independent, accurate inspection. Remember that repair and maintenance issues missed on a less thorough inspection can cost a whole lot more than the cost of our entire inspection. A difference of $50 or $100 on an inspection fee is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of missed defects.

11) Reputation: Ask around about your inspector. Ask your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your lender, your insurance agent, your attorney. Make sure you like what you hear. You can see our customers’ comments on our website but ask around about us, too. We try to ask every person who schedules an inspection with us why they chose us. A very frequent reply that we get is “You’re the most expensive but I heard that you were the best and that’s what I want”.

12) Follow-up Service: Professional Home Inspection Company does not abandon you after the inspection. We can provide you with email or hard copy documents to assist you in repair and improvement projects. Even if you do not plan to do the work yourself, it is advantageous to increase your knowledge of the project so you can have more fruitful discussions with your contractor.