How to choose the right home inspector, by Carl Petelle



by Carl Petelle, The Petelle Group, Eaton, Ohio

So you have just found the home of your dreams. You and the seller have agreed to the terms of the Purchase contract, now the inspection period begins. At The Petelle Group we are happy to provide you with a list of qualified inspectors and home contractors. However, many home buyers would like to use an inspector they have heard about from a friend or family member. It is great to have the recommendations from others but there are a few things you should be asking the potential inspector regardless of who referred them to you.

Following are some important questions to ask:


How Long Have You Been Working in the Field?

An inspector should be able to provide references and a history of experience. It’s also important to know about his or her background. Home inspectors in the State of Ohio are not required to be licensed, so experience is important.

What Experience Do You Have With Residential Inspections?

A background in engineering or construction is a bonus, but if the inspector has never worked on a home, it won’t help much.

How Much Time Does an Inspection Take?

A thorough home inspection should take between two and three hours, depending on the size of the home.

Special considerations need to be taken when looking at wood-burning fireplaces, swimming pools, water wells and septic systems

What Will the Inspection Cost?

The cost of the average home inspection is $350 to $500, depending on the region, size of the home and the complexity of the building systems that are used. Inspections that include termites, wells and septic systems will cost a bit more.

What Type of Inspection Report Is Provided?

Some inspectors provide a big binder full of information, but if you don’t understand the report, that information is essentially useless. The report should be clear and help guide your final decisions on what to ask for, in the way or repairs, from the seller or even to purchase the home. Your Petelle Group agent and your home inspector will review the report with you to answer any questions you might have.

Do You Belong to a Home Inspection Association, and Do You Attend Continuing Education Courses?

Building technologies are constantly evolving, so an inspector should be educated to assess all aspects of a home, regardless of its age. Membership in an organization like the American Society of Home Inspectors means the inspector has been certified and approved by that organization.


The inspectors work for you, and there is a cost to having homes inspected. However, experience has shown that thorough inspections can save you money in the long haul by uncovering defects in the home that even the seller did not know were present.