So, you are buying or selling a home and you feel that you need an experienced professional to inspect the property so that you go into the sale/purchase knowing every thing that you need to know to make the proper decisions and arrive at the dollar/value amount that the property is worth to you. But, how do you go about it? All of the Inspectors’ ads all seem the same, they all tout the same lines of how great they are, etc., etc. It’s impossible to get a referral because you really don’t know any one who has bought or sold a home recently, and, you surely don’t trust the realtor’s choice because you are pretty sure the Inspectors that they use are “their good ‘Ol boys” that solicit the realtors for work. So, what’s a person to do?

Well, let me make it easy for you to cut right through all of the hype and “fairy tales”. I’m going to give you a downloadable short chart that you can print up. On the chart will be a few of the most pertinent questions you would want to be asking of your prospective Inspector as to his/her qualifications that they will be the one that will give you the knowledge and peace of mind to move forward into one of the biggest investments/transactions you will make in your life. If you use the chart as it is designed to be used, you will be able to fill in the boxes below each Inspector’s name with check marks or minimal info relating to the answers you receive from the several Inspectors that you interview. It will become evident in short order who is the most qualified Inspector that you should hire, unless of course you are an individual that is of the opinion that all Inspectors are the same, all inspection reports are the same, and the only difference is who is the cheapest, which, in that case, I’m sure that you will get exactly what you bargained for. Besides, who better than the Inspector himself knows what he/she is worth!

Finally, for those that really want to know who they are hiring to perform such an important service for them, I will give you a list of additional questions that you can ask that will further qualify an Inspector to you, if you wish to know more and take the time to ask them. Hey, you’re only talking about a few hundred thousand dollars of your hard earned money here, so taking a few extra minutes of your time to hire a true professional who will be supplying you with the knowledge and peace of mind that you need at a cost of less than ½ of 1% of what the transaction will be is, well, maybe worth the extra effort. Download the Home Inspectors Hiring Questionnaire as a printable PDF file.

So, roll up your sleeves, pull out the telephone book and go on-line and decide on a few Inspectors that on the surface look promising. Write their names at the top of the columns and then start dialing the phone and asking the questions and filling in the blank boxes with check marks and info. I’ll make it even easier for you, I’ll even give you some links for you to go to so you can check if the answers the Inspectors give you are true (at bottom of this page).

  1. How long have you been inspecting?
  2. How long have you been in the Construction and Home Repair business?
  3. Are you “certified” by any national organization as a Home Inspector?
  4. Are you a licensed General Contractor?
  5. Are you licensed in any thing?
  6. Have you ever hands-on built a home from scratch? If so what, where, when?
  7. Have you ever spent any “real” time in the home repair field? If so, what, when?
  8. Do you solicit realtors to obtain your work/inspections?
  9. What, EXACTLY, do you inspect and include in your inspection report?
  10. Is the report computer generated, easy to understand and have digital color pictures?
  11. Do you offer a money back guarantee?
  12. How long will the inspection take?
  13. What is your fee?

These should be the short list, lucky thirteen if you will, that should shed a little light on just how much experience your Inspector has, how qualified they are and the basics of what you can expect from them should you hire them.

Additional questions you may want to ask…

  1. Do have a website and what is its address?
  2. Do you have any references you would like to share with me?
  3. Can I accompany you during the inspection?
  4. Have you ever been sued over one of your inspections?
  5. How do you stand behind your inspection if a problem comes up?
  6. How much continuing education do you take every year?
  7. What other services do you offer?
  8. Do you belong to the local Realtors Board?
  9. Do you advertise in any of the real estate companies’ sales fliers?
  10. What/whose Standards of Practice do you inspect to?
  11. What Home Inspection organization(s) are you most proud to belong to and why?

My answers to the questions:

  1. I have been in the Home Inspection business for 40 years
  2. I have been in the Construction and Home Repair business for 45 years
  3. I am certified as a Home Inspector by the following organizations: CalNACHI, NACHI International, IHINA
  4. I have been a licensed General Contractor since 1977
  5. I am licensed in the following: California General Contractor & California Structural Pest Inspector
  6. I have built many structures since 1977, including such projects as a geodesic dome home
  7. I have 45 years of hands-on “real” time in the home repair field/structural pest control business
  8. I do NOT solicit realtors to obtain inspection work
  9. For each report I inspect all visible and accessible portions and systems of the house and property
  10. Each computer generated report is easy to understand and includes digital color pictures
  11. I offer a money back guarantee and stand firmly behind it!
  12. Each inspection will take 4 – 8 + hours depending on the property to be inspected
  13. The fee will vary depending on the property to be inspected
  14. I have a website at
  15. I have numerous client references on my website at Client Testimonials
  16. I encourage my clients to accompany me during the inspection, or at least be on site near the end of the inspection
  17. I have never been sued over an inspection, even though I’ve been inspecting homes since 1968
  18. If a problem comes up regarding an inspection, I have a money back guarantee
  19. Each year I obtain usually 40 – 50 hours of continuing education in pertinent home inspection classes
  20. Other services offered… structural pest (termite) inspections, thermography scans and reports, floor level mapping, consulting
  21. I don not belong to the local Realtors Board in order to avoid any perception of conflict of interest or collusion
  22. I absolutely do NOT advertise in any of the real estate companies’ sales fliers?
  23. My home inspections are performed under the Standards of Practice of CalNACHI (National Association of Certifed Home Inspectors)
  24. The Home Inspection organization(s) of which I most proudly belong is CalNACHI (National Association of Certifed Home Inspectors) because of their high standards and stringent continuing education requirements. I’m also proud to be a member of Independent Home Inspectors of North America (IHINA) because in order to be a member you must sign a pledge NOT to solicit business from realtors!

Ron Ringen owns and operates Ringen’s Unbiased Inspections, which is located in Sonora, California. Ringen’s Unbiased Inspections serves the beautiful gold country of California that includes the foothills and Sierra Mountains in the counties of Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador. Ron has been involved with the Structural Pest Control business for 43 years and has been a licensed Structural Pest Inspector in California since 1968. Ron is a licensed General Contractor (B) in California and has been since 1977. Ron is certified with CalNACHI, and is a Manufactured/Modular Home Inspector and a Pool and Spa Inspector.