Home inspectors must have a full working knowledge of every system in a home. A broad background in general construction is a good base to build from. Good inspectors usually have a combination of formal training combined with on the job experience in related fields.
Referrals are a good way to choose an inspector. Many real estate professionals will refer quality home inspectors that have
years of experience.
Most will refer more than one inspector so there is no conflict of interest. Referrals from friends or relatives who may have used a quality inspector in the past are also good.
Ask how long the inspection will take. The time it take to perform a thorough inspection varies with the size and age of a home. However, if the inspector says it will take less than 2 hours find another inspector.
The cost of an inspection is also a factor. A well-established, full-time professional inspector is going to be at the high end of the spectrum. Several hundred dollars is a small price to pay to get the best protection you can for perhaps the biggest purchase of your life.
You should also ask when you will receive your report. Most inspectors can have a computer generated report with photos emailed to you the same day or by the next business day. Printed copies can be delivered by mail or through your realtor.