See the related page here for basic elements of service provider determinations & here for termite/moisture inspector questions. If you're my client, ask me for my spreadsheet of home inspectors if you want to choose one yourself. In it I have answers to many of the below questions already for a number of inspectors.
How much would a home inspection at (address) with ___ sq ft & ___ acres cost including (See note) and when would your first availability be?
Insert here if a shed, detached garage, pool, thermal imaging inspection, other detached structure, or additional inspection requested.
Even if you don't request a thermal imaging inspection, ask them, "Do you perform thermal imagery inspections with no additional fee?" If they do one standard for no additional fee, it's superior to one that doesn't, all other factors the same. Also if they do one for no additional fee, they do them all the time most likely and the quality could be superior to someone who charges additionally for them.
Do you offer any discounts? Examples include 1st time buyer discounts, military discounts, 1st responder discounts, etc.
When would the report be ready?
This time can range from anywhere between on site immediately after the inspection to greater than 3 days later.
What certifications do you have & what types of inspections can you perform?
(i.e. mold, moisture, wood destroying insect)
How many home inspections have you performed personally in your career?
Are you a 1 or 2 man team?
Secondary question: If a 2 man team, how many home inspections has your team mate performed?
What physical tools/gadgets do you have available for inspections?
Adam G is not an inspector, but has a thermal imaging camera, moisture reader, radon detector, 4 gas detector, blacklight, boroscope, 30' pole with camera, Samsung S-22 Ultra 5G in 2022 (the year it came out, and I tend to keep these updated), the brightest flashlight sold (in 2022), ladder, toolbox, drill, outlet tester, & drone. For his updated most comprehensive list, see his page on the subject here. An inspector with these tools will likely have more experience with them as long as they've had them for a while. Also, they will likely have more tools.
The poles with cameras, brightest flashlights, and tracked droids are particularly beneficial and many inspectors don't have them.
How much do you charge for re-inspections?
This amount can be anywhere from free to $200 in most cases. Reinspections are most important when repair lists from your requests of the seller are extensive or when a home is occupied with many items covering the walls and floors.
Additional Questions Sometimes Helpful
What is your access policy in crawlspaces, and if you don't mind me asking, what is your waist size & height?
(the smaller the inspector, the better job they can do in tight spots, though short inspectors may miss/notice some items that taller inspectors wouldn't)
In inaccessible areas, do you have any tools for access? (i.e. pole w camera, or even better, tracked droid)
What is your access policy in attics with no floors?
Secondary Question: If you are unwilling to walk on trusses (in some [i.e. covered in insulation in a location with a sprinkler system] or all situations), is there any way that you more thoroughly inspect those locations (i.e. pole with camera)?
Do you reinspect repaired items from other's inspections or only your own inspections? If so, is the cost any different than for your own inspections?
Some inspectors refuse to be filmed, even for a brief summary at the end of a home inspection. If you'd like a brief summary at the end (typical for out-of-towners not coming in for the inspection) or you'd like the whole inspection to be on video because you won't be there yourself, it's good to know that upfront.
It's also helpful to know if you'll be able to reach the inspector directly with questions, and whether or not you can reach them by their cell.
Some inspectors don't work weekends & evenings. If you're looking at a specific time, it's good to know upfront.
Do you text?
Do you have CBS code access? If you don't plan on being at the home inspection yourself, & your agent won't either, this question is important if there is no contractor lockbox on the property or other form of coded entry.
How long do you typically take for inspections of this size home/lot (including any detached structures and any additional inspections they'll be performing)?
If a 2-man team takes 2 hrs, while a 1-man team takes 4 hrs, you have a similar level of thoroughness as long as both inspectors have similar level of expertise vs the 1-man job. I've been told by a listing agent during a long inspection that the inspector must not know what they're doing. I heartily disagreed. The inspector had done a high volume of previous inspections, was certified in areas where most inspectors aren't (i.e. wood destroying insects, moisture, and mold), and was simply thorough.
For cash buyers especially, "Are you certified for a wood-destroying insect/moisture inspection and able to let me know if there are any issues without providing a letter for a reduced cost vs providing letters?" (in some cases doing it will be free)
If using a REIN offer, the typical offer form in Hampton Roads, you should designate the various kinds of inspections your home inspector and other inspectors will perform within the offer itself, specifically on the Property Inspection Contingency Addendum.
If using a Virginia Association of Realtors offer, (typical outside of Hampton Roads in SE VA), you don't need to inform the seller of all the kinds of inspections you plan to perform.
If working with Adam, & you desire to perform a radon inspection, he has a radon detector that can be used at no cost to you (but which should be disclosed if using a REIN offer form), but keep in mind that he has no form of inspector certification. The detector is simple to use, however. He also has a separate 4 gas detector & thermal imaging camera but again no formal training/certifications on their use. For his most up-to-date list of tools/gadgets, see here.