Although there are guidelines for finding qualified home inspectors, there are no reliable standards that guaranty professional competence.

To illustrate this, below are three criteria or questions frequently cited as essential elements in selecting a qualified inspector.

1. Do they possess professional affiliations: Membership in a recognized association of home inspectors, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI), is commonly held to be a measure of professionalism among home inspectors. Membership requires adherence to standards of practice, codes of ethics, and ongoing education. On the other hand, no governing body can mandate competent performance or ethical conduct. Regrettably, not all association members are truly qualified inspectors.

2. What is their level of inspection experience: Years of dedicated practice can produce home inspectors with the ability to discover defects that would be missed by inspectors with less experience. On the other hand, shortcomings in talent or integrity can diminish the benefits of accumulated experience.  Some folks like to use contractors to do their home inspections.  You should note that contractors do not always make the best home inspectors.  Contractors look at what needs to be fixed and may skip something that may be nearing the end of its useful life in order to keep their bid low enough to win the contract.  An inspector provides an objective status of the property in its current state.

3. Have they had any formal home inspection training?: A common mistake among new home inspectors is to rely on past construction experience, rather than on specific home inspection training. Those who have attended a qualified school or served an apprenticeship are better prepared to commence their careers as inspectors. On the other hand, there is no amount of schooling that truly prepares one for the complexities of inspecting homes. Schooling merely provides a foundation on which to build experience.

So, those are the first three that come to mind.  Can you think of any more?  Let me know by leaving a comment.