Experienced In What?

Home Inspection companies inform you of the different types of experiences they may have, in order to show you why you should use them. But, do you know which experiences your looking for in a home inspector?

20 Years In The Construction Industry

A home inspection business may tout how they have 20 yrs. of experience in the construction and home inspection industries.

You should be asking how many of those years are for performing home inspections full time (not part time). Do you want someone who is supplementing there income or waiting for construction to pick up again or do you want someone who seriously performs home inspections for a living. After all a professional home inspector is what you are searching for isn’t it?

What type of construction is the home inspector talking about? For all you know they may have dug foundation trenches for 20yrs. Construction experience is a small part of becoming a quality professional home inspector. That is not to say that construction experience is not important when it comes to home inspectors, a lot of inspectors have their specialty (specific trade(s) that they learned somewhere along the line) but, it is not by any means the most important criteria of becoming a quality home inspector. We could tell you that Precision Nspec Home Inspectors has a life time of experience in all phases of residential construction (grew up in the business), so what!

I’m sorry did you say you had over 20yrs of construction experience? and only 6 yrs as a home inspector, with the first 3 yrs being part time. Oh, by the way, why are you mentioning how much construction experience you have anyway? Are you going to construct or repair something as part of the inspection?

How much observational training have you had, because that’s what your going to be doing (observing). This can only be accomplished by doing and honing those skills, acute observations skills are not something that can be taught). The best inspectors have a critical eye for details.

You are looking for a professional home inspector. The construction background is a base marker only and depending on what type of construction experience the inspector may have, it may not be relevant.

The General Contractor

Let’s cut to the all mighty title that makes the average person say “EUREKA.”

Do you want a home inspection? or do you want to have a home built? If you are looking to have a home built, then you will want a General Contractor, Architect Engineer etc.

Yes, a general contracting background is useful, if used in addition to learning the skills of a home inspector, but make no mistake, they are two totally separate skills and there is no substitute for home inspection experience, period!

When it comes to having a home inspected. I would take a quality home inspector with 15yrs of full time home inspection experience over a general contractor with 40yrs. experience any day of the week. The general contractor may know what the home inspector is talking about but, the home inspector will have to point it out to them.

FYI: some home inspectors have passed the general contractors exam, only to use it as a home inspection marketing tool. A lot of general contractors look at home inspection as a side business, not focusing 100% on home inspecting skills.

The Former City Building / Municipal Inspector

The former city/municipal inspector. Well versed in the building codes and yes, building code knowledge is useful in becoming a quality home inspector however, home inspection is not a code compliant inspection, although code may be deferred to in order to provide a basis of an observation; several observations noted during a home inspection are not code related at all and many fall under the opinion of the home inspector performing the inspection.

Municipal/City building inspectors when performing building inspections, are looking at things from a different view than a home inspector that is performing a home inspection.

Municipal/City building inspectors are not typically performing inspections of the crawl space (under the home), attic (above the home) etc., after the home has been already built, nor are they observing moisture stains, construction practices, leaks, silt marks etc.

This is not to say that Municipal/City building inspectors can’t become quality home inspectors but, It is a totaly different type of inspection/observation process. I can’t tell you how many times we have noted obvious conditions that should have been called out by a Municipal/City building inspector. Make sure you know which profession you are shopping for.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Know which type of professional you are hiring and for what purpose you are hiring them for. You don’t hire a pizza cook to prepare the steaks at a quality steak house just because they both involve cooking.

Home inspection is unique and extremely broad, when performed at its highest level, it takes time (a lot of time), knowledge (on going unlimited amounts), diligence (care about performing the best inspection), acute observation (time, experience and some natural ability) and full time home inspection experience, none of which can be found on a license or any piece of paper, you can’t just read about it. The only way to achieve that kind of level is to live it.


Paul Alexander Jr / CMI Senior Inspector

Precision Nspec Home Consultants

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