Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: The last time I bought a home, the inspector missed an unbelievable number of problems. He was strongly recommended by my agent, so I expected a much more thorough inspection. Now that I’m buying another home, I don’t want to make the same mistake. Rather than depending on an agent’s referral, how can I know whether a home inspector is truly qualified? Monica

Dear Monica: Complaints about unsatisfactory home inspections are common subjects in my daily email. Unfortunately, there are more than a few unqualified and inexperienced home inspectors in the marketplace, and the problem is compounded by the many real estate agents who routinely recommend these inspectors to their buyers. If you are unfamiliar with the home inspectors in your area, tell your agent you want the most thorough home inspector available. Say you want the one the agents call “the deal killer.” And make sure that the home inspector has been in business for many years, has inspected thousands of homes, and has a reputation for thoroughness. In truth, home inspectors of this caliber are rarely deal killers. Unfortunately, the degree of thoroughness they apply to their work may engender such fears among some agents.

Once you find a qualified inspector, be sure to attend the inspection. A good home inspector will point out defects and will fully explain the report at the end of the inspection.