Give yourself options

Interview 2-3 candidates to compare backgrounds

How long have they been in business? Experience matters! More years of experience means the inspector has seen a variety of homes and issues.

Do they have extra credentials? Some inspectors have specialized training or certifications for specific types of homes. With an older home, look for an architect’s or home engineer’s license. And always confirm that the inspector is state-licensed or has passed the state exam where it’s required.

Have customers complained? Check your local Better Business Bureau’s database for red flags.

Try before you buy

Review 2-3 sample home inspection reports from each candidate

Seeing a real report is the best way to judge the thoroughness and caliber of what you’ll be paying for. Ask for recent reports on homes that are similar in style and age to the one you’re considering. In the report, look for detailed information and photos of problems the inspector found—like safety concerns, pest infestations, leaks, or cracked foundations. A typical report is a few dozen pages, so don’t settle for a skimpy summary!

Know what you’ll get for the money

Compare services and prices; they’re not all the same.

Basic home inspections all focus on identifying major components that are unsafe, near their end of life, or not working well. But inspections can range from $300 to $1,000 depending on the size and location of the home, the inspector’s experience, and extra services. To compare quotes, ask and understand what the price specifically includes and excludes. And expect to pay extra to test for certain risks like termites, mold, and radon.