Congratulations! You put in an offer to buy a home, and it’s been accepted! Now it’s time to get a home inspection to make sure you are willing to move forward with the purchase.

Most potential home buyers choose to include an inspection as a contingency in the purchase agreement. It’s a wise move. The last thing you want is to buy a home without realizing that there’s a significant foundation or roof problem.

If this is your first time buying a home, you’re probably not familiar with what to look for in an inspector or even know how to pick the right one. Here are a few things you need to look for and be aware of before hiring a home inspector.

Ask For Referrals And Check Online Reviews

Who do you trust the most when it comes to referrals? Most people trust their close friends and family. When researching home inspectors in your community, you want to reach out to inspectors whom your friends and family would recommend and trust.

If you have a friend and/or family member who recently bought a property and found themselves impressed with their home inspector, they may be a good candidate. Keep in mind that you may have to speak with several inspectors before deciding to go with the one you feel comfortable with. You also may need to wait until they find any issues that their inspector may have missed.

Next one the list, check any recent online reviews of the inspector and the company they work for. Browse reviews on sites such as Google, HomeAdvisor, Yelp, and Facebook. You can tell a lot about your home inspector based on what others say about them. With proper research you should be able to determine if the home inspector is a good fit for your recent purchase.

Interview Your Potential Candidates

Once you vetted the available home inspectors and selected reputable inspector, reach out to them or their company. Listed below are several questions you will want to verify before moving forward. Here are a few we have frequently been asked in the past.

Are you certified Home Inspector and are you currently licensed? Believe it or not, Some states don’t require any certification or current license to operate. However this is a limited amount, most new home buyers seek to find a trusted & certified inspector for their home. If your chosen home inspector has a certification or license, you will have some peace of mind that they have been professionally trained and were required to complete the course work necessary to become certified.

Are you currently insured and bonded? By maintaining insurance, the home inspector is covered in the case that there’s a mistake in their inspection report. For example, if the inspector misses something that ends up costing thousands of dollars in repairs inorder to be upto code and the inspector doesn’t carry error and omissions insurance, the buyer is liable and will have to pay for correcting the mistake.

Are you a full-time home inspector? If they are a full time home inspector, then you know that the demand for their services is high enough to make a living from it. This can possibly indicate that they are good at what they do. Many fly-buy-night home inspectors will market heavy and then move to a new region, trusting a home inspector that has been in your area for a while is a good sign.

How long will the inspection take? This depends on the type of inspection being provided. If you are having a wind mitigation inspection for your insurance company, this can take 30min to an hour. If you’re having a 4 point or complete home inspection and it takes less than one to two hours, the home inspector may not be spending enough time to do a thorough inspection.

Will you provide a full report of the inspection? What will this report include? Does it include pictures? Do you have a sample? How long will it take for me to receive it? By asking to see a sample report, you can determine if you’ll be able to understand the reporting style. Many companies will use their own software, or a trusted reseller software to compile their reports. You should be able to receive your home inspection report within 24 hours of the inspection (pending any home tests that require longer to be completed).

How do you keep your expertise up to date? What training do you have? This will give you an idea of how serious and professional the home inspector is. A good inspector will stay up to date on their training, and will continue to build their base on new and updated information.

Can I get names and contact information of your last three references? You’re really interviewing this person for a job. It makes sense that you do your due diligence before trusting them with such a large purchase.